The latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer brings in some much needed good news because results show a downward trend in the overall cancer death rates in the United States between the years of 2010 and 2014.
However, researchers find limitations in certain cancer types, and see the need for discovering new strategies for prevention, early detection, and screening.
Men And Women
The report states that in the years between 2010 and 2014, the death rates decreased by 1.8 percent for 11 of 16 most common cancer types in men, and by 1.4 percent among 13 of the 18 most common cancer types in women. However, an increase in death rates was seen in liver, brain, and pancreatic cancer for men, and liver and uterine cancer for women.
In terms of new cancer incidence rates, men saw a decrease in the numbers while cases for women remain unchanged between 1999 and 2013.
Ethnicity And Race
The combined overall incidence rates for all cancer sites in all racial and ethnic groups were higher for men than in women, while black men and white women had a higher overall cancer incidence rates compared to every other racial or ethnic counterparts. However, prostate cancer incidence rates remain to be the highest among men, and breast cancer incidences among women, regardless of race and ethnicity.
Similar to incidence rates, death rates were higher among men than in women, with black men and women having the highest cancer death rates among racial and ethnic groups.
5-Year Survival Rates
Comparing cancer cases from 1975-1977 and 2006-2012, the five-year survival rates significantly increased for all types of cancer but for two: cervical cancer among black women, and uterine cancer among white women. The highest absolute increase in five-year survival rates compared to the 1975-1977 period were seen among cases of prostate, kidney, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma.
Cases with the highest five-year survival rates were seen in female breast, thyroid, melanoma, and prostate cancers, while cases with the lowest five-year survival rates between 2006 and 2012 were pancreas, liver, esophagus, lung, brain, and stomach.
Researchers attribute the overall decrease in cancer rates to reduced tobacco use, early detection, and improved cancer treatments. However, they are also aware of the limitations of current cancer treatments and prevention.
"[T]his report also shows us that progress has been limited for several cancers, which should compel us to renew our commitment to efforts to discover new strategies for prevention, early detection, and treatment, and to apply proven interventions broadly and equitably," said Betsy A. Kohler, M.P.H., C.T.R., executive director of the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR).