Cancer Death Rates Continue to Fall, Latest Federal Data Shows

Cancer Death Rates Continue to Fall, Latest Federal Data Shows

President Joe Biden speaks at an event in the East Room of the White House to revive the Cancer Moonshot in Washington, DC on February 2. File photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | license photo

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 (UPI) — Cancer death rates before the pandemic continued to decline among men, women, children, adolescents and young adults in all major racial and ethnic groups in the United States between 2015 and 2019, newly released federal data show.

The country’s top health officials said this continues a trend of declining cancer mortality for more than two decades that reflects improvements in prevention, detection and treatment.

In general, the last Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer It said that new cancer cases were stable for men and children, but increased slightly for women, adolescents and young adults from 2014 to 2018, according to the latest available data.

It was published as a collaborative effort of the National Cancer Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.

The report is based on several agency data sets, including mortality data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

“Estimates of the impact of COVID-19 on the number of cancers diagnosed in 2020 will be available early next year. Given the reports of reduced detection in 2020, we anticipate that fewer cases will be diagnosed in 2020,” Nancy Cronin, deputy associate director of the NCI Surveillance Research Program, told UPI in an email.

Meanwhile, strategies to address rising incidence rates would depend on the type of cancer and the group affected, Cronin said.

For example, he said, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women, and female breast cancer has increased slightly each year.

In adolescents and young adults, cases of female breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and testicular cancer have been increasing, while cases of thyroid cancer, lymphoma, and melanoma have been decreasing.

The report, published Thursday in the journal Cancer, it also highlights racial and ethnic disparities in incidence and mortality rates for many individual cancer sites.

Dr. Lisa C. Richardson, director of the CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, told UPI in an email that it is “concerning” that disparities persist despite continued significant advances in outcomes and cancer treatment.

“Since many different factors can influence disparities, continued efforts within and outside the health care system are important to reduce these disparities in cancer,” Richardson said.

“For example, it’s hard to eat healthy, safe and affordable food if there are no grocery stores or fresh food markets near where you live or work. If you live in an unsafe neighborhood or there are no sidewalks in your community, it’s hard to be physically active.”

The CDC and NCI are working with other public health agencies on several strategies, including improving access to cancer screening and establishing community programs linked to clinical services in medically underserved communities, he said.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Javier Becerra described the report as “good news in our fight against cancer” and a reminder of the importance of the president Joe BidenThe Cancer Moonshot initiative of .

“I am deeply impressed by the progress we are making against cancer and firmly believe we can meet the president’s goal of reducing the cancer death rate by at least 50% over the next 25 years,” Becerra said in a statement. of press.

However, Karen E. Knudsen, executive director of the American Cancer Society, noted that “concerning trends persist” for certain types of cancer.

For example, the incidence of colorectal cancer is increasing by 1.5% per year in people under the age of 50, Knudsen told UPI in an email.

“Death from colorectal cancer is also increasing in this population. Research is urgently needed so that we can understand and develop strategies to prevent early-onset colorectal cancer,” he said.

Prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States, is also “a major concern,” he said.

“After declining detection rates in the early 2010s, we’ve seen a 4% to 6% annual increase in late-stage diagnosis,” Knudsen said. “This is cause for alarm, as there is no durable cure for metastatic prostate cancer.”

Rates are also rising for many obesity-related cancers, such as pancreatic (both incidence and mortality), uterine (mortality) and kidney (incidence) cancers, Cronin said.

“Overall, it’s important to keep in mind that ‘cancer’ is at least 200 different diseases; we’re gaining ground on many, but more work and investment is needed to be successful across all cancers,” he said.

According to the report, overall cancer death rates decreased by 2.1% per year in men and women combined between 2015 and 2019, according to the report.

Among men, death rates fell 2.3% per year, compared to a 1.9% annual decline among women. Annual declines in the death rate accelerated from 2001 to 2019 in both men and women.

The steepest declines in death rates occurred in lung cancer and melanoma, between 4% and 5% per year among men and women, according to the report.

But death rates rose for cancers of the pancreas, brain, and bone and joints among men, and for cancers of the pancreas and uterus among women.

According to the report, cancer incidence rates remained relatively stable in men and women combined between 2014 and 2018.

Among men, incidence rates remained stable during this period, increasing for three of the 18 most common cancers among men: pancreas, kidney, and testicle.

Among women, incidence rates increased 0.2% per year, increasing for seven of the 18 most common cancers: liver, melanoma, kidney, myeloma, pancreas, breast, and oral cavity and pharynx.

In men, the largest increase in incidence rate was seen for pancreatic cancer, which increased by 1.1% per year, while the steepest decrease was seen for lung cancer, which decreased by 2.6% annual.

In women, melanoma had the steepest increase in incidence, rising 1.8% per year, and thyroid cancer had the steepest decline, falling 2.9% per year.

NCI’s Cronin offered insight into why incidence rates for pancreatic and kidney cancers are rising in both men and women.

“In contrast to rapid declines in the risk of tobacco-related cancers, we haven’t seen the same progress in cancers associated with metabolic factors, such as excess body weight, physical inactivity and diabetes,” Cronin said. “Increasing trends have continued for female breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and kidney cancer.”

He noted that kidney cancer has leveled off in men since 2016, but has continued to rise in women.

Cancer incidence rates were highest among non-Hispanic American Indians and Alaska Natives between 2014 and 2018, closely followed by non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks. Rates were lower among Asians/Pacific Islanders and non-Hispanics.

At the time of the analysis, data was available through 2018 for cancer incidence and through 2019 for cancer mortality, Cronin said. Current rates are calculated using the most recent five years of available data.

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