National US cancer death rate hits milestone

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Lung, prostate and colorectal cancers were the greatest killers for men, and lung, breast and colorectal cancers were the greatest killers for women, according to the report.

The U.S. cancer death rate has hit a milestone: It's been falling for at least 25 years. "Poor people have a higher prevalence of cancer risk factors, like smoking and obesity, as well as less access to high-quality cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment". Still, lung cancer accounts for 25 percent of all cancer deaths. And lung and liver cancer death rates are 40 percent higher for men in poor counties. Over the past 25 years, 2.6 million fewer people died from cancer.

The study also tracked the cancer mortality rates based on various factors including wealth and race.

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It's a milestone in the fight against cancer: USA cancer death rates have declined continuously for the last quarter of a century, according to a new report.

There's been a decline in the historic racial gap in cancer death rates, but an economic gap is growing - especially when it comes to deaths that could be prevented by early screening and treatment, better eating and less smoking.

But it's not all good news.

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"The cancer death rate (2007-2016) declined by 1.4 percent per year in women and 1.8 percent per year in men".

However, rates of several other cancers have been on the rise in recent years, including endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus), which increased 2.1 percent per year from 2012 to 2016, and pancreatic cancer, which increased 0.3 percent per year among men during this same time period. "We haven't begun to see the impact of the changes that are occurring as we speak in the care of people with cancer". He was particularly struck by the fact that nine women aged 20 to 39 die each week from cervical cancer in the USA, despite the fact that Merck & Co.'s Gardasil vaccine can prevent it from forming. Researchers report major declines in lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer, with lung cancer rates almost halving between 1990 and 2016 among men and down by 23 percent in women from 2002 to 2016.

The annual report from the ACS, which was published today (Jan. 8) in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, analyzes the most recent data on cancer incidence, deaths and survival rates in the U.S. This year, an estimated 11,060 children diagnosed with cancer will die from it, with leukemia accounting for nearly one-third, followed by brain and other nervous system tumors.

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For cancers such as leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, pancreatic and ovarian cancers, death rates vary only slightly between the rich and poor, the investigators found. These include cancers of the liver, pancreas, brain, nervous system, soft tissue-including the heart-and areas of the body affected by the human papillomavirus, such as the mouth and throat. "We still have a long way to go, but some of it is fundamental blocking and tackling", Lichenfeld said.

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