Cancer death rates decreasing nationwide
Cancer-related deaths in the United States are on the decline, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
From 2003 to 2012, the cancer death rate for all cancers combined decreased by 1.5 percent a year for both men and women in all major ethnic and racial groups.
The number of cancer diagnoses also declined in men, but remained stable for women. Prevention efforts, early detection and improvements in treatment were listed as likely reasons for the ongoing improvement.
Of notable exception is liver cancer, which saw a 2.3 percent increase in diagnosis rates from 2008 to 2012 among men and women. The report also noted an increase in hepatitis C infections nationwide, accounting for more than 20 percent of the most common liver cancers.
In addition, researchers said that the decline in smoking may also have played a factor as lung cancer deaths have continued to fall. Cigarette smoking among American adults has hit an all-time low, according to the American Cancer Society.
“Research over the past decades has led to the development of several vaccines that, given at the appropriate ages, can reduce the risk of some cancers, including liver cancer,” said Dr. Douglas Lowy, acting director of the National Cancer Institute, in a news release. “Determining which cancers can be effectively prevented by vaccines and other methods is one of our top priorities at NCI, and one which we believe will truly make a difference in cancer incidence and mortality trends.”
While the findings are generally encouraging, there remains a large disparity in cancer cases among different ethnicities. African Americans overall had the highest cancer rate with 202 cases per 100,000 people – far outpacing other groups, according to the report. African American men averaged 261 cases per 100,000 people, and African American women averaged 166 cases per 100,000 people.
“Cancer is something that is hitting the black community very hard, like many other health ailments,” says Dr. Oguejiofor. “Whether it is the reluctance to see the doctor or other factors, I preach to my patients about the need to visit their doctors regularly. So much can be prevented with early detection.”
The Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer is released each year by the CDC, the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.
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