Cancer-Related Deaths are Down, but Disease Remains Leading Killer in U.S.

The American Cancer Society’s annual statistics, published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, reflects a 22 percent drop in the rate of cancer deaths since 1991, accounting for approximately 1.5 million cancer deaths prevented. In 1991, the rate of cancer related deaths was 215 per 100,000 people dropping to 169 per 100,000 people as of 2011.  The drop in rates is attributed to earlier detection, more accurate screening practices, advancements in treatments, and lower rates of smoking.

While rates have declined, cancer remains a major killer in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2015 1.7 million Americans will be diagnoses with malignancies and 589,430 will die from them- approximately 1,600 people a day.

John Seffrin, CEO of the American Cancer Society says,

Cancer was responsible for nearly one in four deaths in the United States in 2011, making it the second leading cause of death overall. It is already the leading cause of death among adults aged 40 to 79, and is expected to overtake heart disease as the leading cause of death among all Americans within the next several years… The change may be inevitable, but we can still lessen cancer’s deadly impact by making sure as many Americans as possible have access to the best tools to prevent, detect, and treat cancer.”

In the United States, prostate, breast, lung and colorectal tumors account for 50 percent of all cancer cases. While there has been an overall decline in death rates, rates vary per region of the U.S. Southern states, for example, exhibited the lowest decline in mortality rates, while the Northeast region showed the greatest improvement.


Read more here- “More than 1.5 Million Cancer Deaths Averted in Last Two Decades,” (CBS News)

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Olivia is a graduate of Villanova University where she studied Economics and History, minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. She also has experience working with federal legislatures on health care policy, women's issues, and Internet safety.


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