This is why the U.S. recorded its biggest-ever decrease in cancer deaths
The U.S. saw its biggest-ever recorded drop in cancer deaths from 2016 to 2017, according to an annual report from the American Cancer Society.
The 2.2% drop is largely thanks to advancements in fighting and preventing lung cancer. That’s the good news. Lung cancer, though, remains the leading cause of cancer death, the ACS says.
The news of the big drop comes as cancer death rates dropped 29% from 1991 to 2017.
Dr. Malik Bandealy, a cancer expert based at Aurora Health Care’s Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic in Kenosha, WI, attributed the reduction in lung cancer deaths to three things:
- Smoking rates have dropped over the years as public health campaigns have educated more and more people about the dangers.
- Screenings have often help doctors catch lung cancer earlier, which greatly improves treatment.
- Treatments of cancer has improved, including after it has spread.
Even over the past 10 years, Dr. Bandealy says, the prognosis for many lung cancer patients has improved.
“We have seen a significant change in the outcomes,” he says.
The report clearly is good news, but what do regular people need to know? Dr. Bandealy says that prevention clearly works to help avoid lung cancer, so don’t smoke.
“Yes, our treatments are getting better,” he says. “But why not get to the point where the treatments aren’t really needed at all?”
About the Author
Mike Riopell, health enews contributor, is a media relations coordinator with Advocate Aurora Health. He previously worked as a reporter and editor covering politics and government for the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and Bloomington Pantagraph, among others. He enjoys bicycles, home repair, flannel shirts and being outside.