(HealthDay News) — Cancer mortality is continuing to decline, driven by progress in lung cancer, although mortality reductions have slowed or stopped for some cancers, according to findings included in Cancer Statistics, 2020, the American Cancer Society’s latest annual report on cancer incidence, mortality, and survival. The report was published online Jan. 8 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
Rebecca L. Siegel, M.P.H., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues collected incidence data through 2016 and mortality data through 2017 for cancer in the United States.
The researchers project that 1,806,590 new cancer cases and 606,520 cancer deaths will occur in 2020 in the United States. The cancer death rate increased until 1991 and then decreased through 2017; there was an overall decline of 29 percent, representing an estimated 2.9 million fewer cancer deaths than would have occurred with the persistence of peak rates. Long-term decreases in death rates for the four leading cancers (lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate) drove this progress. From 2008 to 2017, decreases slowed for female breast and colorectal cancers and ceased for prostate cancers; for lung cancer, declines accelerated. However, in 2017, lung cancers still caused more deaths than breast, prostate, colorectal cancer, and brain cancers combined. In the wake of newly approved therapies for metastatic disease, there were dramatic mortality decreases in melanoma of the skin.
“The exciting gains in reducing mortality for melanoma and lung cancer are tempered by slowing progress for colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers, which are amenable to early detection,” Siegel said in a statement.