More Americans Beating Cancer Than Ever Before

Annual Report to the Nation shows declining death rates for most cancers

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) The data is in and the annual report on the status of cancer in the US is out. The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer has shown positive trends.

Probably the biggest news coming out of this Report is the fact that lung cancer deaths appeared to be dropping at a faster rate than expected.

There were also significant declines in the number of Americans succumbing to all cancers combined, a trend that started 20 years ago.

Looking at the statistics another way, more men, women and children are beating cancer than ever before!

Despite the overwhelmingly good news, the report shows the death rates for some cancers appear to be increasing.

"Stop smoking to lower your risk of the most prevalent cancer in the US."

The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer (ARNSC) has been produced every year since 1998. It’s a collaborative effort of the National Cancer Institute (NCI); the American Cancer Society (ACS); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR).

Brenda K. Edwards, PhD, of Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute was the lead author of this report.

The report looks at mortality rates through the year 2010, the most recent year for which complete information is available. And the news, for the most part, is positive.

Between 2001 and 2010, death rates for all combined cancers fell by 1.8 percent per year for men and 1.4 percent a year for women.

Mortality rates for children aged 14 and younger declined 1.9 percent per year.

The number of men dying from 11 of the 17 most common cancers declined. These included lung, prostate, colon and rectum, leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, esophagus, kidney, stomach, myeloma, oral cavity and pharynx, and larynx.

However, more men died from melanoma of the skin, soft tissue cancers and cancers of the pancreas and liver during the 10-year period, 2001-2010.

Lung, prostate and colorectal cancers were the leading causes of cancer-related deaths among men.

As with men, fewer women succumbed to 15 of 18 cancers, including lung, breast, colon and rectum, ovary, leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, brain, myeloma, kidney, stomach, cervix, bladder, esophagus, oral cavity and pharynx and gallbladder.

But more women died from cancers of the uterus, pancreas and liver during this period.

Lung, breast and colorectal cancers were the leading cancer-related causes of death among most women.

Death rates were higher among men (215.3 deaths per 100,000 men) than among women (149.7 deaths per 100,000 between 2006 and 2010. Black men had the highest death rates of any ethnic or racial group — 276.6 deaths per 100,000 men — during this five-year period.

Lung cancer mortality rates have declined at a faster rate than previous years — declining 2.9 percent a year from 2005-2010 compared to 1.9 percent per year during 1993-2005.

The same trend was seen for women, whose lung cancer death rates declined 1.4 percent every year during 2004-2010 compared to an increase of 0.3 percent a year seen during 1995-2004.

The trends in lung cancer are attributed to a decrease in cigarette smoking in the US.

Interestingly, the authors noted that for women diagnosed with early breast cancers that had not spread beyond the breast, “…the probability of dying from cancer was much lower than the probability of dying from noncancer causes…”

“The overall decreases in cancer death rates indicate progress in cancer control and reflect a combination of primary prevention by reductions of important risk factors as well as improved early detection and treatment,” the report authors concluded.

The Report was published December 16 in the journal Cancer.

This work was supported by the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.

No conflicts of interest were disclosed.

Review Date: 
December 17, 2013
Last Updated:
December 18, 2013