US cancer death rates steadily declining, report says

Record number of survivors recorded in US in January 2022

A medical worker draws blood as part of new liquid biopsy technology that could detect early signs of cancer in the blood. AP
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The overall death rate from cancer in the US decreased 32 per cent between 1991 and 2019, amounting to about 3.5 million lives extended, research has shown.

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) says there is now a record number of 18 million cancer survivors living in the US as of January, and that will grow to 26 million by 2040.

The decreased number of cancer deaths is likely thanks to new treatments, early diagnosis and more frequent screenings.

“We have evidenced unprecedented progress against cancer in the last decade,” AACR president Lisa Coussens and chief executive Margaret Foti said in a statement.

“Remarkable advances across the spectrum of medical research, enabled by decades of federal investments, have led to profound improvements in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment.”

US President Joe Biden has invested in reviving the “Cancer Moonshot” initiative, with the hope of cutting cancer deaths by 50 per cent in the next 25 years.

However, the AACR says the improvements are not accessible for all populations.

“Advances against cancer have not benefited everyone equally; racial and ethnic minorities and certain underserved populations shoulder a disproportionate burden of cancer,” Ms Coussens and Ms Foti said.

“This is unacceptable.”

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Cancer is a leading cause of death in the US and the AACR says about 600,000 deaths will be recorded this year.

The AACR says that the Covid pandemic has affected overall research and patient care, but this is not reflected in this report, which sources numbers from before 2019.

Total global cancer cases and deaths rose between 2010 and 2019 but mortality and incidence rates marginally decreased.

Still, there were more than 17 million cases and about 10 million deaths from the disease in 2019, and the AACR reports 28 million cases and 16 million deaths could be recorded in 2040.

Updated: September 22, 2022, 7:55 PM