WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- As of 2009, the overall death rate for cancer in the United States had declined 20 percent from its peak in 1991, translating to the avoidance of approximately 1.2 million deaths from cancer, according to the American Cancer Society's annual Cancer Statistics report released Thursday.
The latest report finds that cancer death rates decreased from their peak of 215.1 per 100,000 in 1991 to 173.1 per 100,000 in 2009. Death rates continue to decline for all four major cancer sites: lung, colon and rectum (colorectum), breast, and prostate. Over the past two decades, death rates have decreased from their peak by more than 30 percent for cancers of the colorectum, female breast, and male lung, and by more than 40 percent for prostate cancer. These large drops are primarily due to reductions in smoking for lung cancer and improvements in early detection and treatment for colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers.
As encouraging as those drops are, the authors say 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 underserved populations.
According to the report, a total of 1,660,290 new cancer cases and 580,350 cancer deaths are projected to occur in the United States in 2013. Among men, cancers of the prostate, lung and bronchus, and colorectum will account for half of all newly diagnosed cancers; prostate cancer alone will account for 28 percent (238,590) of incident cases in men. Among women, the three most commonly diagnosed types of cancer in 2013 will be breast, lung and bronchus, and colorectum, accounting for about half of all cases. Breast cancer alone is expected to account for 29 percent (232,340) of all new cancer cases among women.
While incidence rates are declining for most cancer sites, they are increasing among both men and women for melanoma of the skin and cancers of the liver, thyroid, and pancreas. Overall cancer incidence rates decreased slightly in males (by 0.6 percent per year) and were stable in females in the most recent five year period for which there is data (2005-2009).
According to the report, cancers of the lung and bronchus, prostate, and colorectum in men and cancers of the lung and bronchus, breast, and colorectum in women continue to be the most common causes of cancer death. These four cancers account for almost half of the total cancer deaths among men and women. In 2013, lung cancer is expected to account for 26 percent of all female cancer deaths and 28 percent of all male cancer deaths.