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Good News: Cancer Rates Continue to Decline

Cancer death rates have been steadily declining over the past two decades. In 2015, cancer death rates for both men and women decreased by 26 percent. Cancer death rates peaked in 1991. This means that there were 2.4 million cancer deaths averted from 1991 to 2015.

Reasons for the Decline in Cancer Rates

Cancer diagnoses in men decreased by 2 percent during this same time period. Diagnoses rates remained the same for women. Otis W. Brawley is a medical doctor who works for the American Cancer Society. He stated that decreases in smoking rates, advances in treatment, and early diagnosis have improved cancer survival rates.

Even though fewer people are smoking, tobacco use is still one of the leading causes of cancer. In fact, it is estimated that 30 percent of cancer deaths can be attributed to smoking. Lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer are some of the top cancers. Deaths from these cancers have decreased significantly due to the early diagnosis and treatment.

Race, Socioeconomic Status & Cancer Rates

It is important to note that ethnicity has an effect on cancer survival rate. Studies have shown that African-Americans are more likely to die from cancer than any other race. Asians are more likely to survive cancer. Socioeconomic status is another factor that affects cancer survival rates. People who are poor and uninsured are more likely to eat fast food regularly and be obese, which our blog has mentioned could affect cancer risk.

Childhood Cancer Rates

Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in children who are between the ages of 1 and 14. Leukemia accounts for 30 percent of childhood cancers. Childhood and adolescent cancers have increased by 0.6 percent since 1975. However, childhood cancer death rates are declining.

Because early detection is one of the factors that has caused cancer death rates to decline, it is important to get screened regularly. Cancer is much easier to treat in the early stages. We have to be vigilant about our own health and see our doctors if something does not seem right.

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