U.S. sees steady drop in can­cer deaths for 25 years

Lower smok­ing lev­els, early de­tec­tion and treat­ment are cred­ited

Tulsa World - - Datelines - By Mike Sto­bbe

NEW YORK — The U.S. can­cer death rate has hit a mile­stone: It's been fall­ing for at least 25 years, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port.

Lower smok­ing rates are trans­lat­ing into fewer deaths. Ad­vances in early de­tec­tion and treat­ment also are hav­ing a pos­i­tive im­pact, ex­perts say.

But it's not all good news. Obe­sity-re­lated can­cer deaths are ris­ing, and prostate can­cer deaths are no longer drop­ping, said Re­becca Siegel, lead author of the Amer­i­can Can­cer So­ci­ety re­port pub­lished Tues­day.

Can­cer also re­mains the na­tion's No. 2 killer. The so­ci­ety pre­dicts there will be more than 1.7 mil­lion new can­cer cases, and more than 600,000 can­cer deaths, in the U.S. this year.

Here is a break­down of what the re­port says:


rate dropped by nearly 50 per­cent among men since 1991. It was a de­layed ef­fect from a de­cline in smok­ing that be­gan in the 1960s, Siegel said.

Prostate can­cer

death rates are linked to obe­sity, in­clud­ing can­cers of the pan­creas and uterus.

An­other is liver can­cer. Liver can­cer deaths have been in­creas­ing since the 1970s, and ini­tially most of the in­crease was tied to hep­ati­tis C in­fec­tions. But now obe­sity ac­counts for a third of liver can­cer deaths, and is more of a fac­tor than hep­ati­tis, Siegel said.

The na­tion's grow­ing obe­sity epi­demic was first iden­ti­fied as a prob­lem in the 1990s. It can take decades to see how a risk fac­tor in­flu­ences can­cer rates, “so we may just be see­ing the tip of the ice­berg in terms of the ef­fect of the obe­sity epi­demic on can­cer,” Siegel said.


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