Colorectal cancer endangers more 20-to-30-year-olds

Henrietta Strickland
January 11, 2019

The US cancer death rate has been dropping for at least 25 years, hitting a new milestone, the Associated Press reported.

There's been a decline in the historic racial gap in cancer death rates, but an economic gap is growing - especially when it comes to deaths that could be prevented by early screening and treatment, better eating and less smoking.

Although lung cancer accounts for the most cancer-related deaths, the most commonly diagnosed cancers in men include prostate, lung, and colorectal cancer (CRC); the 3 most common diagnosed cancers for women are breast, lung, and CRC. The society predicts there will be more than 1.7 million new cancer cases, and more than 600,000 cancer deaths, in the US this year. But since the peak in 1991, the death rate has steadily dropped by approximately 1.5% per year through 2016, according to the study published Tuesday in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

But the report also covered rates in serious cancers like liver, thyroid and pancreatic cancers, all of which are on the rise, according to The WSJ. Between 2012 and 2016, the death rate for liver cancer rose 1.2 percent among men and 2.6 percent among women, while the rate for pancreatic cancer rose 0.3 percent among men.

The study also tracked the cancer mortality rates based on various factors including wealth and race. Although the racial gap in cancer deaths is slowly narrowing, socioeconomic inequalities are widening. That corresponds to more than 4,800 new cases and nearly 1,700 deaths per day, according to the study. But cancer is the leading cause of death in many states and among Hispanics, Asian Americans and people under 80 years of age.

But it's not all good news.

"The encouraging point is that cancer mortality continues to go down, particularly for men, but the tough part is, we're still seeing over 600,000 Americans dying of cancer every year", he said. While she celebrated the progress made, she also noted that the report showed that where a patient lives can dictate their chances of surviving cancer and that many patients cannot access high-quality care or be involved in research. "So we've been wondering if that's going to happen for cancer as well, but so far it hasn't". Oncology experts say advances in cancer drugs have played a major role, too. "Getting to the oncologist often takes longer and options may be more limited", he said. Cervical cancer deaths are twice as high for women in poor counties now, compared with women in affluent counties. "These counties are low‐hanging fruit for locally focused cancer control efforts, including increased access to basic health care and interventions for smoking cessation, healthy living, and cancer screening programs", the authors of the paper write.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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