Death rates are falling, but diagnoses of certain cancers are on the rise.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) has projected that nearly 1.7 million new cases of cancer will be detected in the United States in the coming year and nearly 600,000 people will lose their lives to the dreaded disease, according to a report on Fox News.
However, Rebecca Siegel of ACS, who is based in Atlanta said, “It’s kind of a good news, bad news story.”
Although cancer continues to be the leading cause of death in the US, the death rates from those contracting the disease continue to fall. The agency reports that cancer deaths fell some 23 percent in the decade prior to 2012, the last period for which data is available. That means about 1.7 million fewer patients died from cancer since the highest level was recorded in 1991.
The authors of the report say the decline is due mostly to new diagnoses and better treatment options, but warn that some certain types of cancer are on the increase.
Deaths due to breast, colon, rectal and prostate cancers are falling, as are deaths from lung cancer, primarily due to fewer people smoking. However, lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer death in older men and women.
The leading cause of cancer death for women aged 20 to 59 continues to be breast cancer, and for men in the age 20-39 age group, the leading cause is leukemia.
The rates of new cancer diagnoses dropped three percent in males during the period from 2009-2012, primarily due to a drop in prostate cancer, but the rates of new cases remained mostly stable for women during that time.
The report warns that cancers related to obesity are on the rise, citing the rates of incidence and mortality for endometrial cancer, of which the risk climbs five percent with every five-point gain in body mass index.
Another area of concern was the gap between black and non-Hispanic whites, in which both incidences and death rates are higher for blacks for every malignancy.
Siegel attributes the discrepancy to the fact the early detection and treatment are not disseminated equally among the populations, and adds the extension of these improvements to under-served populations would accelerate the decline in death rates.
Siegel said, “A lot of progress has been made, but there is more work to do.”