US cancer deaths down 33% since 1991, says new report | American news

Cancer deaths in the United States have dropped 33% since 1991, saving an estimated 3.8 million lives, according to a new report.

The American Cancer Society report largely attributed the three-decade trend to better early detection, less smoking and improvements in treatment. Researchers have also credited the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV).

The improved results are “really amazing,” Karen Knudsen, CEO of the American Cancer Society, told CNN. “New revelations for prevention, for early detection and for treatment have resulted in real, meaningful gains in many of the 200 diseases we call cancer.”

From 2019 and 2020, the most recent date for which data is available, cancer mortality decreased by 1.5%. Researchers and doctors have warned that Covid-19, which delayed cancer screenings for many Americans, was a serious setback, but to what extent is not yet known.

The Society’s report, published Thursday in a medical journal for cancer clinicians, noted that while cancer deaths are declining, cancer death rates and incidence have fluctuated widely between cancer types and different demographic groups.

Perhaps the most notable change was a “65% drop in cervical cancer incidence from 2012 through 2019 in women in their early 20s,” the report said – “the first cohort to receive human papillomavirus [HPV] vaccine”.

“The large drop in cervical cancer incidence is extremely exciting” and “likely a strong reduction in other HPV-associated cancers,” Rebecca Siegel, the report’s lead author, said in a statement.

There were also some cancer flare-ups, the report found. For example, after 20 years of decline, prostate cancer increased by 3% per year from 2014 to 2019 – a reversal that researchers described as concerning. The study was based on data from central cancer registries and the National Center for Health Statistics.

However, recent cancer data is characterized by racial disparities. The incidence of prostate cancer is 70% higher in black men than in white men, and black women are more likely to die from breast cancer than other groups, despite white women being more likely to develop breast cancer.

Last year, Joe Biden announced he was relaunching the White House’s “cancer moonshot” initiative with the goal of reducing cancer deaths by at least 50% over 25 years. In a statement on Thursday, moonshot cancer coordinator Dr Danielle Carnival said the new report showed “major progress”.

The decline in cancer death rates mirrors similar long-term trends in some other major diseases.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), death rates among people living with HIV fell 37% from 2010 to 2017.

According to a study published in the journal Circulation Research, age-adjusted cardiovascular death rates — that is, deaths from heart disease and stroke — fell by 22% between 1990 and 2013.

After rising from 1980 to 2000, the death rate from diabetes dropped 26% between 2000 and 2014, according to a study published last year in the journal Population Metrics.

In contrast, overdose deaths have increased dramatically in recent years. The age-adjusted number of deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone rose 1,040% from 2013 to 2019, according to the CDC, and the number of deaths involving psychostimulants, such as meth, rose 317%.

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