Advances in diagnosis and prevention, as well as increased efforts to combat smoking, have led to a drop in mortality due to cancer in the United States.
The death rate from cancer has been steadily declining in the United States since 1991, when it peaked at 215.1 deaths per 100,000 population. In 2016, the figure was 156 deaths for 100,000 Americans, says a report from the American Cancer Society published on Tuesday. That’s a decrease of 1.5% each year.
These statistics are even more important as cancer is among the leading causes of death in the United States, alongside heart disease and accidents, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cancer is still present and specialists predict 1.7 million new cases in 2019 and 600,000 deaths from these diseases.
But if the death rate had remained at its 1991 level, the number of additional deaths would have been 2.6 million, say the report’s authors. According to the Wall Street Journal, medical advances in diagnosis and prevention, as well as increased efforts to combat smoking, are responsible for the saving of these lives and lowered mortality by 27% in a quarter of a century.
Still, the decline in cancer-related mortality does not affect the entire American population equally. The inhabitants of the less favored regions of the country have a death rate 20% higher than that of the richest areas. This is due to, among other things, missing or insufficient health insurance for many Americans that complicates detection.
In addition, the decrease in mortality among men was 34% against 24% for women. This phenomenon is explained in particular by the fact that common smoking among women happened later in history. Lung cancer is one of the most lethal diseases in men and women, along with colorectal cancer.