Declining Cancer Deaths

June 18, 2011 by USA Post 

Declining Cancer DeathsDeclining Cancer Deaths, Recently published statistics from the American Cancer Society show that cancer mortality rates in the U.S. continues to decline, but rates of death from cancer in the less educated segment of the population is 2 ½ times greater than for the more educated. The annual “Cancer Statistics 2011,” published in the Journal of the American Cancer Society’s “CA: A Cancer Journal for doctors,” and its companion piece “Cancer Facts & Figures 2011″, estimates the number of new cancer cases and deaths expected in the U.S. this year. Estimates are among the most quoted cancer statistics in the world.

A total of 1,596,670 new cancer cases and 571,950 cancer deaths expected to occur in the U.S. in 2011. Between 1990 and 2007, the latest year for which data are available, overall mortality rates declined by 22% in men and 14% in women. This translates to about 898,000 cancer deaths were avoided. The American Cancer Society credits improvements in prevention, early detection and treatment.

“The nearly 900,000 cancer deaths avoided over a 17-year stand in stark contrast with the repeated assertion that cancer mortality rates have not moved,” said John R. Seffrin, executive director of the American Cancer Society and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Action Network (ACS CAN). “But we refuse to be satisfied, and we are committed to doing whatever, not only to ensure cancer mortality rates continue to fall, but to accelerate the decline.”

Lung cancer death rates among women are falling more slowly than men because women started smoking in large numbers, and do it later, after the men. As a result, death rates from lung cancer have been declining since 1990 in men, but have just started to decline in women. Lung cancer accounts for 28% of cancer deaths in men and 26% of cancer deaths in women.

Cancers of the lung, prostate and colon / rectum in men, and cancers of the lung, breast and colon / rectum in women continue to be the most common causes of cancer death. These four cancers account for almost half of all deaths from cancer among men and women.

Each year, American Cancer Society researchers include a special section on “Cancer Facts & Figures”, highlighting a theme of cancer research or care. This year’s theme is cancer disparities and premature deaths. Researchers estimate that 37% of premature deaths from cancer (over 60,000) could have been prevented if all Americans between 25 and 64 in the U.S. in 2007 had the cancer mortality rate as the most educated segment of the population.

The disparity was greater for lung cancer, so the mortality rate was 5 times higher in the less educated than for more educated. This is consistent with smoking rates by level of education: 31% of men with 12 or fewer years of education were current smokers, compared with 12% of university graduates and 5% of men with studies graduate.

Reducing cancer disparities, the report will need to remove barriers to health promotion and health care. These barriers include lack of health insurance, lack of transportation to health facilities, low literacy, and speak little English.

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