Cancer Deaths Among Black Men Dropped by More than Half

Cancer statistics for 2014 released by the American Cancer Society

(RxWiki News) One of every four deaths in the US is caused by cancer. Despite this fact, the number of cancer-related deaths has actually dropped in the last 20 years, with some groups seeing dramatic changes.

Cancer deaths among black men between the ages of 40 and 49 have dropped by more than 50 percent in the past two decades, according to the American Cancer Society’s report, Cancer Statistics 2014, which was released today.

While this statistic represents substantial progress, black men still had the highest rates of cancer and cancer deaths of any ethnicity in the US, the report pointed out.

In the past 20 years, cancer deaths have fallen by about 20 percent, resulting in the avoidance of nearly 1.4 million American deaths.

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The lead author of Cancer Statistics 2014 was Rebecca Siegel, MPH, of the Surveillance and Health Services Research division of the American Cancer Society, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

The American Cancer Society's cancer statistics report is published every year to give a snapshot of the statistics relating to one of the nation’s most serious diseases. The annual report estimates the number of new cancer cases expected to be diagnosed this year, along with the number of anticipated deaths and survival data, and these numbers are teased out by gender, ethnicity, geographic region, age and type of cancer.

Researchers rely on incidence data from the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Here are the highlights from the 2014 report:

  • There will be an anticipated 1,665,540 new cancer cases diagnosed and 585,720 cancer deaths in the US this year.
  • Breast, lung and colon cancers will be the most common for women, with breast cancer accounting for about 29 percent of all cancers seen in women.
  • Prostate, lung and colon cancers will be the most frequently diagnosed cancers in men, with prostate cancer making up about 25 percent of all male cancers.
  • The states with the highest numbers of new cancer diagnoses will be Kentucky, Delaware and Maine.
  • The states with the lowest numbers of cancer cases will be Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
  • Roughly 1,600 Americans will die of cancer every day this year.
  • Lung cancer remains the deadliest cancer, accounting for one in four cancer deaths.
  • The number of Americans dying from the disease has steadily declined over the past 20 years, going from 215.1 deaths per 100,000 people in 1991 to 171.8 deaths per 100,000 in 2010. This means that 1,340,400 cancer deaths were avoided over these years.
  • The death rate among black men between the ages of 40 and 49 dropped by 55 percent during this 20-year time period.

“Despite this substantial progress, 5-year survival rates among blacks continue to lag behind whites by as much as 22 percentage points for uterine cancer, 21 percentage points for cancer of the oral cavity, and 17 percentage points for urinary bladder cancer,” wrote the authors of this report.

To improve these statistics, these authors said that existing cancer control knowledge can be applied throughout all segments of the population, with specific emphasis on socioeconomically deprived and disadvantaged segments.

According to Dr. Subhakar "Sub" Mutyala, Associate Director of the Baylor Scott & White Cancer Institute and Associate Professor at Texas A&M College of Medicine in Temple, Texas, “This study shows our health care system has made improvements in decreasing the death rates in young African American men ages 40-49. That being said, African American men still have the highest rates of cancer and cancer deaths, meaning we still have a lot more work to do."

Cancer Statistics 2014 and its companion article Cancer Facts & Figures were published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Review Date: 
January 6, 2014