US Cancer Statistics show Decreasing Incidence and Mortality

The American Cancer Society report reveals reductions in the incidence of cancer and cancer-related deaths but significant disparity between Black and White populations

medwireNews: The incidence of cancer and cancer-related deaths in the USA has decreased significantly in recent years, says the American Cancer Society.

Between 2006 and 2010, the annual US incidence of delay-adjusted cancer fell by 0.6% for men, although the rate was stable for women, states the society’s report Cancer Statistics, 2014, published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Using data from the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, the researchers show that the incidence of colorectal, prostate and lung cancer in men decreased faster than that of cancer incidence overall.

But there were significant increases in the diagnosis of other cancers, with melanoma, thyroid and liver cancers showing the largest increase in men and women, report Rebecca Siegel, from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and co-author.

Between 2006 and 2010, the annual rate of deaths from cancer fell by 1.8% in men and 1.4% in women.

Indeed, the report reveals that the overall rate of deaths from cancer has fallen by 20% in the past 20 years, from 215.1 deaths per 100,000 individuals in 1991 to 171.8 deaths per 100,000 in 2010. This suggests that 1,340,400 deaths from cancer may have been avoided in the USA over the study period, write Rebecca Siegel and team.

Specifically, between 1991 and 2010, the cancer death rate fell by 16% and 20% in White and Black women, respectively, and 24% and 33% among White and Black men.

Further analysis by gender, race, and age revealed that only White women aged 80 years and older had no decrease in cancer-related mortality, while Black men had the greatest decrease in cancer-related mortality in each 10-year age group. Indeed, the cancer death rate fell by 55% for Black men aged 40 to 49 years old.

"The halving of the risk of cancer death among middle aged black men in just two decades is extraordinary, but it is immediately tempered by the knowledge that death rates are still higher among black men than white men for nearly every major cancer and for all cancers combined,” commented John Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, in a press release.

The significantly lower stage-specific 5-year cancer-specific survival rates in Black patients for almost all cancer types likely reflects later stage of disease at time of diagnosis, associated with lower socioeconomic status, and possibly less aggressive treatment, the researchers report. This was especially true for uterine, oral cavity, and urinary bladder cancers.

“Further progress can be accelerated by applying existing cancer control knowledge across all segments of the population, with an emphasis on those groups in the lowest socioeconomic bracket and other disadvantaged populations,” the authors conclude.

Reference

Siegel R, Ma J, Zou Z, et al. Cancer Statistics, 2014. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. Advance online publication 7 December, doi: 10.3322/caac.21208.

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