(HealthDay News) — The overall cancer death rate decreased continuously by 27% from 1991 to 2016, according to a report published online in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Rebecca L. Siegel, MPH, from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues estimated the numbers of new cancer cases and deaths expected to occur in the United States in 2019 and compiled the most recent data on cancer trends.

The researchers project that in 2019, there will be 1,762,450 new cancer cases and 606,880 cancer deaths. They found the cancer incidence rate was stable in women from 2006 to 2015 and declined about 2% per year in men; from 2007 to 2016, the cancer death rate decreased annually by 1.4 and 1.8%, respectively. From 1991 to 2016, there was a continuous decrease of 27% in the overall cancer death rate, representing about 2,629,200 fewer cancer deaths than expected based on peak rates. Socioeconomic inequalities are widening, although the racial gap in cancer mortality is narrowing slowly, according to the researchers. The most notable gaps were seen for the most preventable cancers. Mortality rates were twofold higher for cervical cancers and 40% higher for male lung and liver cancers for the poorest counties versus the most affluent in 2012 to 2014.

“A broader application of existing cancer control knowledge with an emphasis on disadvantaged groups would undoubtedly accelerate progress against cancer,” the authors write.

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Siegel RL, Miller KD, Jemal A. Cancer statistics, 2019. CA. DOI:10.3322/caac.21551