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U.S. death rate from cancer is dropping, but it's not all good news.

  • 04.16.2015

Annual statistics reporting from the American Cancer Society shows the death rate from cancer in the US has fallen 20% from its peak in 1991. "Cancer Statistics, 2013," published in the American Cancer Society's journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, and its companion piece "Cancer Facts & Figures 2013," estimates the numbers of new cancer cases and deaths expected in the US this year. The estimates are some of the most widely quoted cancer statistics in the world.

A total of 1,660,290 new cancer cases and 580,350 deaths from cancer are projected to occur in the US in 2013. Between 1990/1991 and 2009, the most recent year for which data is available, overall death rates decreased by 24% in men, 16% in women, and 20% overall. This translates to almost 1.2 million deaths from cancer that were avoided.

More to be done

Death rates continue to decline for lung, colon, breast, and prostate cancers, which are responsible for the most cancer deaths. Since 1991, death rates have decreased by more than 40% for prostate cancer, and by more than 30% for colon cancer, breast cancer in women, and lung cancer in men. The large drop in lung cancer is attributed to reductions in smoking, while the large drop in prostate, colon, and breast, cancer is attributed to improvements in early detection and treatment.

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