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American Cancer Society Announces Drop in Cancer Death Rate

cancer death rate

In January 2019 the American Cancer Society announced the cancer death rate has dropped 27 percent in 25 years, which translates to more than 2.6 million deaths avoided between 1991 (the peak year) and 2016. They credit the drop as mostly due to steady reductions in smoking and advances in early detection and treatment.

The decrease in cancer death rates is positive news, but research shows cancer is still the nation’s number two killer – following heart disease. According to the American Cancer Society, “A total of 1,762,450 new cancer cases and 606,880 deaths from cancer are expected to occur in the US in 2019.”

Noteworthy trends in the Cancer Statistics, 2019 report include declines in lung cancer death rates, in new lung cancer cases, breast cancer death rates, prostate cancer death rates and colorectal cancer death rates. Although there’s been a decline in colorectal cancer death rates, the number of new cases has increased almost 2 percent per year since the mid-1990.

Unfortunately, not all cancer types saw a decline death rate. From 2012-2016 cancer of the liver, pancreas, uterus, brain, nervous system, soft tissue and sites within the oral cavity and pharynx were on the rise. Experts suggest that cancer of the liver, pancreas and uterus are related to obesity; while cancer in oral cavities and pharynx are related to the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Another finding in the study is the connection between cancer and lower socioeconomic status. According to the Cancer Statistics, 2019 report, whether measured at the individual or area level, lower socioeconomic status “is associated with numerous health disadvantages and higher mortality across race and ethnicity.” Experts suggest dietary and smoking patterns, slower dissemination of screening and treatment advances are connected to this trend.

The American Cancer Society estimates that in Iowa in 2019, there will be 17,810 new cancer cases – with the top cancer types being breast, lung and prostate.

From diagnosis through survivorship, the Nassif Community Cancer Center surrounds patients and their families with programs and services that support them through their journey.

See how we’re fighting cancer together here.


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