U.S. cancer death rate drops 25 percent since 1991: Here’s what you should know

January 25, 2017

october-pink-1714664The rate of new cancer diagnoses and cancer deaths is down dramatically in the United States. That’s the good news in “Cancer Statistics, 2017,” published by the American Cancer Society.

Highlights from the report:

  • A 25 percent decline in the U.S. cancer death rate between 1991 and 2014 translates to more than 2.1 million deaths averted.
  • During the past decade, new cancer diagnoses decreased by about 2 percent per year in men and stayed about the same for women.
  • Routine screening for prostate cancer accounts for much of the overall decline in new cancer rates for men.

“The continuing drops in the cancer death rate are a powerful sign of the potential we have to reduce cancer’s deadly toll,” Dr. Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, said in a press release. “Continuing that success will require more clinical and basic research to improve early detection and treatment, as well as creative new strategies to increase healthy behaviors nationwide.”

The report also breaks down the types of cancers diagnosed within the United States,. The data point to how men and women differ. For example:

  • Prostate, lung and colorectal cancers account for 42 percent of all cancers in men.

Breast, lung and colorectal cancers are most commonly diagnosed in women. Bottom line: Prevention and early screening make a difference. Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with cancer? Share your story and tips with other consumers.