Cancer fatality rates declined for the 26th consecutive year in the United States in 2017. It was also the largest-ever drop in overall deaths for a 12-month measurement period.
The 2.2% plunge in cancer fatalities is directly attributed to a sharp decline in the number of lung cancer deaths.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States each year, killing more people than prostate, colorectal, and breast cancers combined. This data shows that improvements in treatment methods, along with preventative measures, are coming together to have a positive impact on health.
2.9 Million People Aren’t Dying Because of Cancer
If the cancer fatality rates stayed at 1991 levels, then this disease would have killed an additional 2.9 million people.
What is causing this trend? Reductions in smoking are the most significant driver, but doctors are also catching some cancers much earlier than before.
The death rate for lung cancer has dropped by 51% among men since it peaked in 1990. Women have seen a 26% reduction since their figures peaked in 2002.
All cancer-related deaths have dropped by at least 40% since their peak, with the death rate for colorectal cancer declining by approximately 55%.
We still have more work to do to stop cancer for good. The lifetime probability of being diagnosed with an invasive disease is 40% of men and about 39% for women. About 1.8 million new cases will get diagnosed in the United States this year.
As we understand more about how different cancers respond to treatments, researchers and doctors hope to continue seeing record declines in deaths. For more information, www.cancer.org