The cancer death rate for men and women has dropped 25 percent from its peak in 1991 and 2014, and this decline has averted 2.1 million deaths due to cancer during this time period, as per Cancer Statistics, 2017, published in the American Cancer Society’s journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The most recent decade of available data shows that the rate of new cancer diagnoses decreased by about 2 percent annually in men and stayed about the same in women and has declined cancer death rate by about 1.5 percent annually in both sexes.

“The continuing drops in the cancer death rate are a powerful sign of the potential we have to reduce cancer’s deadly toll,” says Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer of the ACS in a news release. “Continuing that success will require more clinical and basic research to improve early detection and treatment, as well as creative new strategies to increase healthy behaviors nationwide.”

Lung, colorectal, prostate, and breast cancers account for about 46 percent of the total cancer deaths. Among men, prostate, lung, and colorectal cancer will account for 42 percent of all newly diagnosed cancers in 2017, while prostate cancer alone accounts for about 1 in 5 cases. Among women, the 3 most common cancers in 2017 will be breast, lung, and colorectal, with breast cancer alone expected to account for 30 percent of all new cancer cases among women.

Cancer Death Rate Dropped 25 Percent Since Its Peak in 1991

Also the statistics further shows that the rates of new cancer cases and cancer deaths vary among racial and ethnic groups, with rates generally highest among African Americans and lowest Asian Americans. However, racial disparities continue to drop.

The excess risk of cancer death in black men as compared to white men has dropped from 47% in 1990 to 21% in 2014. The racial disparity has also declined in black women, from a peak of 20% in 1998 to 13% in 2014. Researchers add that while there are still significant disparities, increasing access to care as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could result in further narrowing of the racial gap across all population groups.

“Approximately 208,000 new cases of rare cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2017, not including the 8,850 estimated new cases of testicular cancer,” researchers at ACS report.

Reference(s): Cancer Statistics, 2017, Cancer Facts & Figures 2017