which is the biggest one-year drop ever in recorded history, with the decline stemming from long-term mortality rates. The cancer death rate in the United States fell 2.2 percent in 2017 which is the biggest single-year drop ever reported. All of this has been propelled by gains against lung cancer, as less and less people smoke or switch to vaping, according to the American Cancer Society.
Declines in the mortality rate for lung cancer have accelerated in recent years in response to new treatments combined with falling smoking rates, at least according to Rebecca Siegel, lead author of Cancer Statistics 2020, which is the latest edition of the organization’s annual report on cancer trends.
The improvement in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available, is part of a long-term drop in cancer mortality that directly reflects the recent smoking downturn. Since peaking in 1991, the cancer death rate has fallen 29 percent, which translates directly into 2.9 million fewer deaths, or nearly 3 million lives saved.
The cancer society report projected 1.8 million new cases of cancer in the United States this year and more than 606,000 deaths. Nationally, cancer is the second leading cause of death after heart disease in both men and women. It is the No. 1 cause in many states, and among Hispanic and Asian Americans and people younger than 80, according to the report.
With lung cancer being the leading cause of cancer deaths, accounting for 1 in 4, any change in the mortality rate has a large effect on the overall cancer death rate, Siegel noted.
The report said substantial racial and geographic disparities remain for highly preventable cancers, such as cervical cancer, and called for “the equitable application” of cancer control measures.
In recent years, melanoma has showed the biggest mortality-rate drop of any cancer. That’s largely a result of breakthrough treatments such as immunotherapy, which unleashes the patient’s own immune system to fight the cancer and was approved for advanced melanoma in 2011.
The one-year survival rate for patients with advanced melanoma rose from 42 percent in the 2008-2010 period to 55 percent between 2013 and 2015, according to the report. Also striking according to Siegel; Among those 65 and older, the melanoma death rate has been dropping 5 percent to 6 percent annually in recent years after decades of increases.
Lung cancer death rates have dropped by 51 percent since 1990 in men, and by 26 percent since 2002 in women, with the most rapid progress in recent years thanks largely to the increase in awareness of vaping as an alternative to smoking and as a means of successful cessation.
For men, the decline in the death rate sped up from 3 percent per year during the 2008-2013 period to 5 percent annually for the following five-year period. For women, the decrease accelerated from 2 to almost 4 percent.
The percentage of adults in the United States who smoke has been dropping for decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Between 2005 and 2018, for example, the proportion fell from almost 21 percent to 13.7 percent.
What do you think about this news? Are we finally on the right track of fighting preventable cancer causes such as smoking? Or will ignorant government heads decide what is against the public's health best interests and continue on legislating vaping away?