Cancer Mortality in U.S. Continues to Drop, Following Decades-long Trend

Cancer Mortality in U.S. Continues to Drop, Following Decades-long Trend

Cancer mortality rates dropped 1.7 percent from 2014 to 2015, following a trend that began in 1991 and has resulted in nearly 2.4 million fewer cancer deaths during that 27-year period, says the newly published report Cancer Statistics 2018.

Cancer Statistics is the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) comprehensive annual report on cancer incidence, mortality, and survival in the U.S. The publication is accompanied by a consumer-friendly version, Cancer Facts and Figures 2018, which includes thematically organized graphics for an easier read.

Specific to prostate cancer, Cancer Facts and Figures 2018 highlights that, while the lifetime probability of men being diagnosed with cancer is slightly lower than women’s (37.6 percent versus 39.7), prostate cancer alone still accounts for almost one in every five diagnoses in men.

The report shows that prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers account for 42 percent of all cancer cases in men, being the most common causes of cancer death among men. Further, the ACS report estimates  1,735,350 new cases of cancer, with 609,640 cancer deaths, in the U.S. this year.

The decline in cancer mortality translates to approximately 1,639,100 fewer cancer deaths in men (32 percent since 1990) and to 739,500 fewer cancer deaths in women (23 percent since 1991) than what would have been observed, had peak rates persisted.

Researchers estimate that these decreased numbers are related to steady reductions in smoking and advances in early detection and treatment.

“This new report reiterates where cancer control efforts have worked, particularly the impact of tobacco control,” Otis W. Brawley, MD, chief medical officer of the ACS, said in a press release. “A decline in consumption of cigarettes is credited with being the most important factor in the drop in cancer death rates. Strikingly though, tobacco remains by far the leading cause of cancer deaths today, responsible for nearly three in ten cancer deaths.”

What’s more, in comparison with the three other major cancers, prostate cancer scores fairly promising results: prostate cancer (down 52 percent from 1993 to 2015), colorectal cancer (also down 52 percent from 1970 to 2015), lung cancer (down 45 percent from 1990 to 2015 among men and 19 percent from 2002 to 2015 among women), and female breast cancer (down 39 percent from 1989 to 2015).

This year’s report also includes certain male-specific estimates for 2018 that you might be interested in reading, such as “Estimated Number of Deaths for the Four Major Cancers by Sex and Age Group, 2018” and “Trends in Age-adjusted Cancer Death Rates by Site, Males, US” and other graphs.