Cancer Mortality Dropping

According to the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, with the exception of two forms, the 5-year survival rates for almost all cancer types have increased significantly. Ana Sandoiu has posted the findings of this document.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) who are both part of the Department of Health and Human Services, together with the American Cancer Society and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) have collaborated to create the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer.

Information is offered in this document on the incidence and mortality trends currently in the United States.  The previous report was published in March of 2016 where data was gathered between 1975 and 2012 that revealed an increase in the incidence of liver cancer.  The Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the latest report on clinical data collected between 1975 and 2014 that shows a significant decrease in the number of deaths caused by nearly all types of cancer with the exception of only two.

Ahmedin Jemal, Ph.D., of the American Cancer Society led the study in which he also looked at survival rates as a way of evaluating the progress made in the fight against cancer.  Trends in death rates are the most commonly used measure to assess progress against cancer, according to Jemal, and survival trends are also an important measure to evaluate progress in the improvement of cancer outcomes.

Comparing the 5-year survival rates for cancers diagnosed from 1975 to 1977 to those diagnosed between 2006 and 2012, the findings revealed a marked increase in 5-year survival rates during the latter period.  Only cervical and uterine cancers were the exceptions.

Leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, myeloma, prostate, and kidney cancers had the largest increase in survival rates. These forms of cancer had survival rates that had increased by 25% or more. Thyroid cancer, melanoma and breast cancer in women also were also among the greatest survival rates.


cancer mortality dropped


Those that were diagnosed between 2006 and 2012 with the lowest survival rates were cancer of the pancreas, liver, stomach, esophagus, and brain. A special section on cancer survival in 2004 revealed the survival improved over time for almost all cancers at every stage of diagnosis, but survival remains very low for some types of cancer and for most types that are diagnosed at an advanced stage.

These reports can be seen as encouraging, but the need for more preventive measure and resources for identifying risk factors that could help to stave off cancer are needed. The report also found that tobacco-related cancers have low survival rates, which underscore the importance of continuing to do what we know works to significantly reduce tobacco use. We also need to support communities and families in prevention approaches that can help reverse the nation’s obesity epidemic.

This overall cancer death rate in the U.S. is welcome news, reflecting improvements in prevention, early detection, and treatment, but it also shows us that progress has been limited for several cancers and should gain our commitment in efforts to discover new strategies for prevention, early detection, and treatment, and to apply interventions broadly and equitably. I have to add my own opinion though, I wonder what is “fake news” and what is not.

Dr Fredda Branyon