Study: U.S. Cancer Deaths Steadily Declining

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Study: U.S. Cancer Deaths Steadily Declining
Study: U.S. Cancer Deaths Steadily Declining

(HealthDay News) — Cancer death rates have been decreasing steadily for the past two decades, with the magnitude of the decrease varying with age, race, and sex, according to a report published online Jan. 7 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Rebecca Siegel, MPH, from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues collected data on cancer incidence and mortality from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program to estimate the number of new cancer cases and deaths that will occur in the United States in the current year.

"Cancer is a major public health problem in the United States and many other parts of the world. One in 4 deaths in the United States is due to cancer," Siegel and colleagues wrote. 

The researchers reported that 1,665,540 new cancer cases, which is equivalent to more than 4,500 new cancer diagnoses each day, are projected for the United States in 2014. Further, data indicate that approximately 62,570 cases of breast carcinoma in situ and 63,770 cases of melanoma in situ are expected to be diagnosed in 2014. Lung, prostate, and colorectal cancers will account for 50% of all newly diagnosed cancers in men, while breast, lung, and colorectal cancers will account for 50% of all newly diagnosed cancers in women.

The delay-adjusted cancer incidence rates decreased slightly in the past 5 years (2006 to 2010) in men (0.6% per year) and remained stable in women.

Study results also show that 585,720 cancer deaths, which is equivalent to about 1,600 deaths per day, are projected for the United States in 2014. More than one-quarter of all cancer deaths will be attributable to lung cancer, according to the researchers.

However, rates of cancer mortality have been declined during the past 5 years. For men and women, cancer death rates decreased by 1.8% and 1.4% per year, respectively. Additionally, the combined cancer death rate has been decreasing steadily for two decades, with a 20% decrease noted from 1991 to 2010, representing approximately 1,340,400 cancer deaths avoided during this time period.

Continued declines in death rates for the four major cancer site are primarily responsible for these decreases, according to the researchers. During the past 50 years, the lung cancer death rate has dropped 34% from 1991 to 2010 among men and 9% from 2002 to 2010 among women. Moreover, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer deaths have decreased from peak rates by 34%, 45%, and 46%, respectively.

Considerable differences were seen in the magnitude of the decline in cancer death rates with age, sex, and race, ranging from no decrease among white women aged 80 years and older to a 55% decrease among 40- to 49-year-old black men.

"Further progress can be accelerated by applying existing cancer control knowledge across all segments of the population," the researchers wrote.


  1. Siegel R, Ma J, Zou Z, et al. Cancer statistics 2014. CA Cancer J Clin. 2014;doi:10.3322/caac.21208.

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