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As of 2009, the overall death rate for cancer in the United States had declined 20 percent from its peak in 1991, translating to the avoidance of approximately 1.2 million deaths from cancer, 152,900 of these in 2009 alone. These figures come from the American Cancer Society’s annual Cancer Statistics report, one of the most widely-cited medical publications in the world.
Each year, the American Cancer Society estimates the numbers of new cancer cases and deaths expected in the United States in the current year and compiles the most recent data on cancer incidence, mortality, and survival based on incidence data from the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics. The data are disseminated in two reports, Cancer Facts & Figures 2013 and its companion article, Cancer Statistics 2013, published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
The latest report finds that cancer death rates decreased from their peak of 215.1 per 100,000 in 1991 to 173.1 per 100,000 in 2009. Death rates continue to decline for all four major cancer sites: lung, colon and rectum (colorectum), breast, and prostate. Over the past two decades, death rates have decreased from their peak by more than 30% for cancers of the colorectum, female breast, and male lung, and by more than 40% for prostate cancer. These large drops are primarily due to reductions in smoking for lung cancer and to improvements in early detection and treatment for colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers.
The authors say as encouraging as those drops are, further progress can be accelerated by applying existing cancer control knowledge across all segments of the population, with an emphasis on those groups in the lowest socioeconomic bracket and other underserved populations.
According to the study, a total of 1,660,290 new cancer cases and 580,350 cancer deaths are projected to occur in the United States in 2013. Among men, cancers of the prostate, lung and bronchus, and colorectum will account for half of all newly diagnosed cancers; prostate cancer alone will account for 28% (238,590) of incident cases in men. Among women, the three most commonly diagnosed types of cancer in 2013 will be breast, lung and bronchus, and colorectum, accounting for about half of all cases. Breast cancer alone is expected to account for 29% (232,340) of all new cancer cases among women.
Read more about the Annual Report information.