(HealthDay News) — Cancer incidence and death rates have decreased in recent years, according to 2 studies published online in Cancer.

S. Jane Henley, MSPH, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues examined trends in incidence and death rates for all cancers combined and for the leading cancer types by sex, racial/ethnic group, and age during the most recent 5 years. The researchers found that from 2012 to 2016, cancer incidence rates decreased 0.6% on average per year, with trends differing by sex, racial/ethnic group, and cancer type. Cancer incidence rates were stable overall for men and in non-Hispanic white men but decreased in other racial/ethnic groups. In all racial/ethnic groups, cancer incidence rates increased during 2012 to 2016 for women by 0.2% per year on average. Cancer death rates decreased for all cancers combined among both men and women in each racial/ethnic group during 2013 to 2017.

In a second study, Henley and colleagues examined progress toward achieving select Healthy People 2020 cancer objectives for lung, colorectal, female breast, and prostate cancer. The researchers found that overall and in most sociodemographic groups, the targets for death rates were met, but not among men, blacks, or individuals in rural areas. Cancer death rates decreased 15% overall during 2007 through 2017.

“While we are encouraged that overall cancer death rates have decreased, there is still much more we can do to prevent new cancers and support communities, families, and cancer survivors in this ongoing battle,” CDC director Robert R. Redfield, MD, said in a statement.

The author of the editorial disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.


Henley SJ, Ward EM, Scott S, et al. Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, part I: National cancer statistics. Canc. doi: 10.1002/cncr.32802

Henley SJ, Thomas CC, Riedel Lewis D, et al. Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, part II: Progress toward Healthy People 2020 objectives for 4 common cancers. Canc. doi: 10.1002/cncr.32801

Ferris RL. Promising progress from Healthy People 2020 and cancer incidence update. Canc. doi: 10.1002/cncr.32805