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USA cancer death rates are dropping

NBC file

Siegel, MPH, from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues estimated the number of new cancer cases and deaths that will occur in the United States in 2018.

"This new report reiterates where cancer control efforts have worked, particularly the impact of tobacco control", Otis W. Brawley, MD, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, said in a statement.

The statistics indicated more than a 22-year drop in deaths from the disease.

More than one-third of all men and women in the USA will develop cancer during their lifetimes, but not every cancer diagnosis is an immediate death sentence.

The report estimates that this year there will be 1.7 million new cancer cases and 609,640 cancer deaths in the United States.

"Lung cancer death rates declined 45 percent from 1990 to 2015 among males and 19 percent from 2002 to 2015 among females due to reduced tobacco use because of increased awareness of the health hazards of smoking and the implementation of comprehensive tobacco control". Although African-American women develop breast cancer at similar or slightly lower rates, they are more likely to die from the disease compared with white women, according to the American Cancer Society's facts and figures on African Americans and cancer. Declines in lung and colorectal cancers were offset by increasing or stable rates for breast, uterine corpus, and thyroid cancers and for melanoma.

The 1.7 percent decrease means that almost 2.4 million fewer people died of the disease in that period. The report also includes the effect of cancer on Hispanic and Asian Americans.

With the variation in cancer death rate, the lifetime probability is still higher in men than women. However, according to an annual report from the American Cancer Society released Thursday, many young and middle-aged black Americans are not reaping equal benefits from improved cancer prevention, detection, and treatment.

And while death rates were not statistically significantly different between whites and blacks in 13 states, that did not necessarily mean progress, the authors noted. Rates of lung cancer in women are now approaching the levels in men. Cancer death rates were not statistically different by race in Kentucky and West Virginia, for example, but were the highest of all states for whites.