Cancer rates are decreasing dramatically

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

cancer rates
A patient receiving chemotherapy.

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, taking around 600,000 lives in 2010 alone. Every year, researchers from the American Cancer Society estimate how many deaths are to be expected in the coming years, and according to their latest report, it seems we may finally be winning the fight against this devastating disease.

The scientists examined data from many sources, including the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Center for Health Statistics. What they found was that in the last 20 years, there was an impressive 20% drop in cancer rates across the nation.

Unfortunately, this number was not evenly distributed across different groups of people depending on age, race, and gender. For example, the same study examined data from 1991-2010 and found white women aged 80 years and older didn’t see any reduction in their cancer rates during those years. Meanwhile, black men between the ages of 39 and 50 years old saw a whopping 50% drop, but even this number is slightly misleading.

“The halving of the risk of cancer death among middle aged black men in just two decades is extraordinary, but it is immediately tempered by the knowledge that death rates are still higher among black men than white men for nearly every major cancer and for all cancers combined,” said John R. Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society.

According to the report, approximately 1,670,000 people will be affected by cancer in 2014, and about 500,000 will lose their lives to the disease. For the men who will develop this illness, a large portion will suffer from prostate, lung, and colon cancer and account for about half of all newly diagnosed cancers. On the other hand, the most common for women will be breast, lung, and colon cancer. “The progress we are seeing is good, even remarkable, but we can and must do even better,” stated Seffrin.