Cancer death rate declined, but still more prevention is needed

January 18, 2016 | by Letisia Marquez

Breakthroughs - Cancer death rate declined - 256x256

There’s good news to celebrate on the cancer front: Early cancer detection, cancer prevention efforts and better treatments resulted in a 23% decline in the cancer death rate over the last two decades, according to the American Cancer Society’s annual statistics report.

Because of those efforts, more than 1.7 million lives were saved between 1991 and 2012. Each year, cancer deaths from the four major cancers – lung, breast, prostate and colon/rectum – also declined.

Overall, the number of women diagnosed with cancer remains stable while the number of men with cancer declined by 3.1 percent per year from 2009 – 2012, the report stated. 

But one chronic health problem – obesity – may contribute to numerous cancers and should continue to be a serious concern, Steven Rosen, M.D., City of Hope’s provost and chief scientific officer, told HealthDay. Obesity is linked to breast, colon, endometrial, esophagus, gallbladder, kidney, pancreas, prostate and thyroid cancers. 

“It’s felt that obesity will replace tobacco as the No. 1 cause of cancer,” Rosen said. “We have to be diligent.”

Rosen also had additional tips on how cancer can be prevented: "Eat a healthy diet, exercise, try to be as close as possible to your ideal body weight. Don't smoke, drink in moderation and minimize sun exposure."

Other highlights from the American Cancer Society’s report include:

  • A total of 1,685,210 new cancer cases and 595,690 deaths from cancer are projected to occur in the United States in 2016. 

  • Among men, prostate, lung, and colon cancer will account for 44 percent of all newly diagnosed cancers in 2016, with prostate cancer alone accounting for about one in five cases. 

  • Among women, the three most common cancers in 2016 will be breast, colon and lung, which together will account for about half of all cases. 

  • Breast cancer alone is expected to account for 29 percent of all new cancer cases among women.

  • Despite progress overall in reducing cancer incidence and death, some cancer types are increasing. Incidence rates increased from 2003 to 2012 among both men and women for some types of leukemia and for cancers of the tongue, tonsil, small intestine, pancreas, kidney, thyroid and liver.

  • Black men continue to have the highest cancer incidence and death rates among all ethnic groups in the U.S. Asian-Americans have the lowest rates.

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If you are looking for a second opinion about your diagnosis or consultation about your treatment, request an appointment online or contact us at 800-826-HOPE. Please visit Making Your First Appointment for more information.

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