Cancer Deaths Continue to Decline

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Since 1991, the decline in cancer mortality has translated to approximately 2,378,600 fewer cancer deaths than what would have occurred had peak rates persisted, the researchers reported.

For the report, researchers analyzed mortality data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics and incidence rates from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program, the National Program of Cancer Registries and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.

With the variation in cancer death rate, the lifetime probability is still higher in men than women.

More than one-third of all men and women in the United States will develop cancer during their lifetimes, but not every cancer diagnosis is an immediate death sentence.

"Strikingly though, tobacco remains by far the leading cause of cancer deaths today, responsible for almost three in ten cancer deaths", Brawley noted.

Deaths from lung cancer made a 45 percent decline among men and 19 percent among women.

Cancer is still a destructive blight on American society, however, and is estimated to have killed 158.6 per 1,000 people diagnosed with the disease in 2015. Female breast cancer is 39 percent lower from 1989 to 2015.

Cancer deaths have fallen yet again, thanks mostly to huge declines in smoking, the American Cancer Society said Thursday.

Cancers of the breast, prostate and colon and rectum are also down steeply. The most common cause of cancer death is still lung cancer.

In men, prostate cancer causes 9 percent of deaths, while 7 percent are due to pancreatic cancer and 6 percent to liver cancer.

Young and middle-aged black Americans remain at a higher risk of dying from cancer compared to whites in the same age groups.

And while death rates were not statistically significantly different between whites and blacks in 13 states, that did not necessarily mean progress, the authors noted.

The good news, Goler Blount said, is more than 90 percent of black women are now insured following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Some states in the report, such as NY and MA, have seen the racial mortality gap disappear for whites and blacks over 65.

Some of the factors that contribute to this decline have been the reduction in smoking and early cancer screenings.