(HealthDay News) — Overall cancer death rates have decreased continuously from 1991 to 2018, according to a study published online in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
Rebecca L. Siegel, MPH, from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues compiled the most recent data on population-based cancer occurrence, including incidence data through 2017 and mortality data through 2018.
The researchers project that 1,898,160 new cancer cases and 608,570 cancer deaths will occur in 2021. Following an increase during most of the 20th century, the cancer death rate has decreased continuously from its peak in 1991 through 2018, with a total decrease of 31% due to reductions in smoking and improvements in early detection and treatment, translating to 3.2 million fewer cancer deaths. For the four leading cancers, long-term declines in mortality have ceased for prostate cancer, slowed for breast and colorectal cancers, and accelerated for lung cancer, which accounted for almost 50% of the decrease in total mortality from 2014 to 2018. The pace of annual decline in lung cancer mortality increased from 3.1% during 2009 through 2013 to 5.5% from 2014 to 2018 for men, from 1.8 to 4.4% for women, and from 2.4 to 5% overall.
“We anticipate that disruptions in access to cancer care in 2020 will lead to downstream increases in advanced stage diagnoses that may impede progress in reducing cancer mortality rates in the years to come,” Siegel said in a statement.