Local hospital reacts to report of declining cancer rates

Henrietta Strickland
January 11, 2019

"The continued decline in the cancer death rate over the past 25 years is really good news and was a little bit of a surprise, only because the other leading causes of death in the USA are starting to flatten", Rebecca Siegel of the American Cancer Society, and lead author of the study, told CNN. They also credit advances in early detection and treatment.

According to the report, the number of women developing cancer has remained relatively stable over the last decade for which there is available data (2006-2015). Liver cancer death rates also increased by 1.2 percent per year among men and 2.6 percent per year among women, from 2012 to 2016.

The nation's cancer death rate was increasing until the early 1990s. America's poorest populations are disproportionately suffering from some of the most preventable cancers and will continue to do so in 2019, according to new numbers published by the American Cancer Society.

Not only are poorer people are "unable to get systematic screenings", Siegel said, "but treatment options are oftentimes not the highest quality".

Although the continued decline in overall cancer death rates is good news, the "bad news that this report highlighted [is that] inequalities are widening, particularly among those of low socioeconomic status", said Dr. Darrell Gray II, deputy director of the Center for Cancer Health Equity at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, who was not involved in the study. But the lung cancer death rate dropped by almost 50 percent among men since 1991.

Cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the U.S.as of 2016, but mortality rates of the four main cancers-lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal-are declining.

In the early 1970s, colon cancer death rates in the poorest counties were 20 percent lower than those in affluent counties; now they're 35 percent higher.

For example, obesity-linked endometrial cancer, which begins in the uterus, is on the rise, according to The WSJ. The vaccine can prevent 70 percent of cervical cancers as well as many oral cancers and genital warts.

There will be an estimated 1.8 million new US cases of cancer diagnosed in 2019, with 606,880 Americans expected to die from the disease, according to Cancer Statistics. This year, an estimated 11,060 children diagnosed with cancer will die from it, with leukemia accounting for nearly one-third, followed by brain and other nervous system tumors. These include cancers of the liver, pancreas, brain, nervous system, soft tissue-including the heart-and areas of the body affected by the human papillomavirus, such as the mouth and throat.

For cancers such as leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, pancreatic and ovarian cancers, death rates vary only slightly between the rich and poor, the investigators found.

Paskett pointed out that "we have made great strides. We still have a long way to go, but some of it is fundamental blocking and tackling", Lichenfeld said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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