Report: Death rates are declining for many common cancers in US

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STAT 08 July, 2021 - 05:05am 26 views

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By Theresa Gaffney July 8, 2021

The new report — released by the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other collaborators — found that between 2014 and 2018, death rates dropped for 11 out of 19 of the most common cancers among men and 14 of the 20 most prevalent cancers among women.

Accelerating declines in lung cancer deaths may account for much of the overall progress seen in recent years, the authors of the report said. Over the past two decades, the death rate for lung cancer has declined even faster than the rate at which patients are diagnosed with the disease. And while part of the early success in preventing lung cancer can be attributed to the massive drop in smoking rates, the authors note the most recent downward trends seem to correspond with the approval of new treatments for non-small cell lung cancer that improved the likelihood of survival.

Death rates from melanoma also saw an accelerated decline in the past decade, despite a growing number of diagnoses. Like in lung cancer, authors point to the introduction of novel treatments around the same time as the turnaround on the death rate. New targeted and immune checkpoint inhibitors were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2011, one year before major declines in death rates were seen in women and two years before they were seen in men.

Farhad Islami, the lead author of the report and a scientific director at the American Cancer Society, said the findings point to areas where treatments or new advances are benefiting patients and underscore which forms of cancer may need more attention from scientists and research funding organizations.

“It’s important that people have timely access to quality treatment,” Islami said. “Not just any treatment, but something that evidence shows is effective.”

While the report showed improved survival rates for many patients over recent years, others, such as prostate, colorectal, or female breast cancers, have seen progress stalled or stopped. Breast cancer continues to be one of the three deadliest cancers for women of all races, and the most frequently fatal cancer for Hispanic women.

While the rates of death from breast cancer are declining, the pace of the decline has slowed over the past two decades, according to the report.

And across the board, racial health disparities persist. Black women and white women are diagnosed with breast cancer at similar rates, Islami said, but the mortality rate for Black women is 40% higher. Overall, cancer is more common among white individuals than Black individuals, but Black people die from cancer at higher rates.

Islami emphasized the importance of preventive measures for certain cancers, noting that while cancers related to smoking have continued to decrease, those related to excess body weight have increased. Early and consistent access to screenings has also been critical, he said, as demonstrated by the apparent effect of adapted screening guidelines for colorectal cancer.

From 2000 to 2010, the number of people between the ages of 50 and 75 who received a regular colonoscopy more than doubled from 19% to 55%. But between 2010 and 2015, that same rate only rose to 59%. While it’s not a clear cause and effect, this slowdown in screening uptake is closely correlated with slower improvements in the death rates from colorectal cancer.

Each year, the report on cancer is meant to provide guidance to clinicians in speaking directly with their patients. But Islami said that authors are also looking toward a wider audience.

“We hope that policymakers read the paper,” Islami said. “Many of these things need community-level policies to be implemented.”

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US death rates are falling for many types of cancer, but not all, report says

CNN 08 July, 2021 - 04:12pm

Updated 8:29 AM ET, Thu July 8, 2021

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Cancer death rates fall, with a few exceptions

ABC News 08 July, 2021 - 01:14pm

The decline included men and women of all racial and ethnic groups.

Cancer death rates continue to decline, with decreases in melanoma and lung cancer death rates leading that trend, according to a new report.

The report, published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute Thursday, includes data from 2001 to 2018, meaning it does not reflect cancer incidence or deaths rates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decline in cancer death rates held true for both men and women of all racial and ethnic groups. The report showed a decrease in death rates among 11 of the 19 most common cancers in men and 14 of the 20 most common cancers in women. That overall decline translates into an average 2.2% cancer death rate decrease per year for men and an average 1.7% decrease per year for women.

"The continued decline in cancer death rates should be gratifying to the cancer research community, as evidence that scientific advances over several decades are making a real difference in outcomes at the population level," Dr. Norman Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute, one of the groups that collaborated on the report, said in a statement.

Additionally, cancer incidence rates among women, children, adolescents and young adults rose between 2014 and 2018, the report found. The most common cancer among adolescents and young adults ages 15 to 39 was female breast cancer. Among children younger than 15, the most common cancers were leukemia, lymphoma and brain and nervous system cancers. Although the incidence of cancer is increasing among women, in general, cancer incidence rates are higher for men.

"I believe we could achieve even further improvements if we address obesity, which has the potential to overtake tobacco use to become the leading modifiable factor associated with cancer," Sharpless added.

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U.S. cancer death rates declining, report shows

Reuters 08 July, 2021 - 11:41am

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Death rates between 2014 and 2018 fell for 11 of the 19 most common cancers among men, and 14 of the 20 most common among women, according to the report from the American Cancer Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.

The accelerating pace of decline in deaths from lung cancer and melanoma helped bring down cancer deaths between 2001 and 2018, the report said.

Reduced smoking rates and breakthroughs in cancer drug development have helped contribute to the overall decline, Karen Knudsen, chief executive officer of American Cancer Society, said in a press release.

Death rates increased for brain and other nervous system as well as pancreatic cancer in both sexes, oral cavity and pharynx cancers in men, and liver and uterus cancers in women.

The rate of decline in deaths slowed or even disappeared for some cancers, including female breast cancer.

The report found that overall cancer death rates decreased in every racial and ethnic group during the 2014-18 period, but added that death rates remained higher among Black people than Whites.

Reporting by Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; editing by Caroline Humer and Shinjini Ganguli

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Cancer death rates fall amid warnings about obesity

The Hill 08 July, 2021 - 10:26am

The report found that from 2015 to 2018, overall cancer fatality rates for men dropped 2.3 percent per year, faster than the 1.8 percent decline recorded each year from 2001 to 2015. 

For women, deaths due to cancer dropped by 2.1 percent each year from 2015 to 2018, compared to 1.4 percent each year from 2001 to 2015. 

“While we celebrate the progress, we must remain committed to research, patient support, and advocacy to make even greater progress to improve the lives of cancer patients and their families,” Knudsen added in a statement. 

Despite the improvements, the study also noted a slowing down of previous declining trends for colorectal and female breast cancer death rates, and the fatality rate for prostate cancer leveled off. 

Researchers said that death rates increased for a small group of cancers, including pancreatic, brain and other nervous system cancers for both men and women, as well as oral cavity and pharynx in males and liver and uterus cancers in females.

Obesity was cited as a main risk factor potentially influencing increases in case and death rates or deceleration of previous dropping trends for colorectal and female breast cancers. 

NCI Director Norman “Ned” Sharpless said in a statement, “I believe we could achieve even further improvements if we address obesity, which has the potential to overtake tobacco use to become the leading modifiable factor associated with cancer.” 

Meanwhile, Betsy Kohler, NAACCR’s executive director, said more attention should also be given to “evaluating health disparities,” specifically the “social factors that influence the health of the communities and access to health care.” 

"Social and economic indicators, particularly based on small area assessments, are increasingly important to understanding the burden of cancer,” Kohler said in the statement. 

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Annual Cancer Report Finds a Lot of Good News

Gizmodo 08 July, 2021 - 09:40am

The findings come from the ACS’s Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, a joint project between the ACS, the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACR), and the federal government, including the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s based on data collected by the CDC as well as registry data from the NAACR between 2001 and 2018. The full report was published Thursday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“The declines in lung cancer and melanoma death rates are the result of progress across the entire cancer continuum—from reduced smoking rates to prevent cancer to discoveries such as targeted drug therapies and immune checkpoint inhibitors,” said Karen E. Knudsen, CEO of the American Cancer Society, in a statement from the organization. “While we celebrate the progress, we must remain committed to research, patient support, and advocacy to make even greater progress to improve the lives of cancer patients and their families.”

There are important caveats to this good news, namely the still ongoing covid-19 pandemic. People have visited the doctor less frequently during the pandemic for cancer-related treatment and screenings, particularly in the first wave last spring, which many experts believe will lead to an increase of advanced cancers that will be less treatable and more likely to be fatal. Some studies have already projected that these delays in care will lead to thousands of excess deaths over the next decade.

“It is encouraging to see a continued decline in death rates for many of the common cancers,” said Karen Hacker, director of the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “To dismantle existing health disparities and give everyone the opportunity to be as healthy as possible, we must continue to find innovative ways to reach people across the cancer care continuum—from screening and early detection to treatment and support for survivors.”

Overall, cancer remains one of the top leading causes of death every year. In 2021, according to the ACS, there will be an estimated 1.9 million new diagnosed cancer cases and 608,570 cancer deaths.

So to get into a few specifics that you addressed in the article:

Cancer death rates have dropped. But experts warn obesity may soon drive the disease.

USA TODAY 08 July, 2021 - 05:54am

The annual report of cancer deaths paints a mixed picture of the nation's effort to combat the second leading cause of death, experts say.

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Researchers are reporting the largest ever one-year decline in the U.S. cancer death rate, mainly because of advances in the treatment of lung tumors. (Jan. 8) AP Domestic

U.S. cancer death rates for men, women and communities of color are falling, but obesity and unequal access to care could threaten hard-fought gains over the past two decades, a new report shows.

The annual American Cancer Society report, which measures cancer cases and deaths through 2018, paints a mixed picture of the nation's effort to combat the second leading cause of death, said Farhad Islami, the report's lead author and American Cancer Society's scientific director of cancer disparity research.

Death rates for lung cancer and melanoma improved significantly, but recent progress on breast and colon cancer deaths slowed, and prostate cancer death rates flattened after years of decline, the report said.

Experts said long-standing efforts to curb cigarette smoking and tobacco use along with improved medical care have yielded significant improvements in lung cancer deaths.

"The decrease in smoking is a huge reason," said Dr. Otis Brawley, a professor at Johns Hopkins University and former chief medical officer at American Cancer Society. "Keep in mind it is not just lung cancer, but smoking causes 18 different cancers."

New medications to treat people with melanoma that spread to other parts of the body also improved survival rates, Islami said.

The new report, published in the The Journal of the National Cancer Institute, includes death rates by age, sex, race, and ethnicity from 2001 through 2018 based on death certificates reported to states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

Overall, cancer death rates fell at a faster rate from 2015 to 2018 compared with rates since 2001. Cancer death rates for men dropped 2.3% per year from 2015 to 2018, a faster than 1.8% decline each year from 2001 to 2015. Among women, cancer deaths dropped 2.1% per year from 2015 to 2018, compared with 1.4% per year from 2001 to 2015.  

Cancer death rates also dropped among all racial and ethnic group from 2014 to 2018. But death rates overall remain higher among Blacks compared with whites and other racial and ethnic groups.

Despite slowing death rates in most types of cancer for men and women, not all trends were positive. Death rates increased from cancer in the brain, nervous system and pancreas among men and women. In men, oral and throat cancers are on the rise, and liver and uterine cancers in women.

However, experts warn that obesity could soon overtake smoking as the nation’s main driver of new cancer cases. And the figures show positive strides on common cancers such as breast and colon cancers have slowed. One possible factor is rising obesity, Islami said.

Brawley agrees an "energy imbalance" of eating too much and not exercising enough is putting more Americans at risk for cancer. Brawley cited previous research that predicted such rising obesity and lack of exercise would usurp tobacco this decade as the leading cause of cancer 

"Think about tobacco control pushing the rate down and energy imbalance pushing the rate up at the same time, "Brawley said. "And by the way, the cancers that are going up or the cancers that are not going down in death rate in this study are the ones most closely associated with energy imbalance."

The data does not captures cancer cases and deaths since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, but researchers fear a slowdown in screening during lockdowns could mean doctors and patients are missing early-stage cases.

"They may be diagnosed a year later," Islami said. "Increasing the proportion of cancers at a more advanced stage will eventually translate to higher death rates, unfortunately."

© 2021 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC.

Cancer mortality in U.S. declines in lung and melanoma diagnoses buts persists in other types

Yahoo News 08 July, 2021 - 05:01am

Death rates for lung cancer and melanoma continued to drop for men and women in the U.S. between 2014 and 2018, according to an annual report with the National Cancer Institute.

Yes, but: For several other major cancers, however, like colorectal, breast and prostate, death rates increased — or saw previous improvements stall.

State of play: American deaths from cancer — the second-leading cause of death in the U.S. — have been on the decline for years. But it's not the same across the board, particularly when it comes to cancers related to obesity.

Death rates among women increased for five of the most common cancers such as uterus, liver, brain and pancreas. Death rates decreased for 14 cancers.

For men, death rates for five cancers including bones and joints, oral cavity and pharynx, brain and pancreas increased. Death rates decreased in men for 11 cancers.

By the numbers: Cancer death rates declined overall in every racial and ethnic group since 2001, but drops have accelerated in the last five years.

Still, overall cancer incidence is increasing in women, children and young adults.

Be smart: The analysis observes cancer rates and deaths up to 2018, but since last year, doctors have expressed concern the pandemic will lead to an uptick in cancer incidence and deaths and scale back the progress made between different race and ethnicities with the disease.

The National Cancer Institute estimated there will likely be 10,000 additional deaths over the next decade due to the drop in screening and treatments of breast and colorectal cancer during the pandemic.

What's happening: Several associations and government agencies have altered screening and prevention guidance in recent months to address increasing cancer incidence.

Screenings for colon cancer are now recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force at 45 instead of at 50 as of May, due to the disease increasingly occurring among adults younger than 50.

The group also recommended in March annual lung cancer screenings be conducted on those as young as 50 and to those with shorter smoking histories than previously thought necessary.

What they're saying: “The continued decline in cancer death rates should be gratifying to the cancer research community, as evidence that scientific advances over several decades are making a real difference in outcomes at the population level,” Ned Sharpless, director of the NCI, said in a statement.

“I believe we could achieve even further improvements if we address obesity, which has the potential to overtake tobacco use to become the leading modifiable factor associated with cancer," he added.

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Rapid Decrease in Lung Cancer and Melanoma Deaths in the United States

SciTechDaily 08 July, 2021 - 05:00am

 Overall cancer death rates continue to decline in men and women for all racial and ethnic groups in the United States, according to the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer. During 2001 to 2018, declines in lung cancer death rates accelerated, and death rates for melanoma declined considerably in more recent years, reflecting a substantial increase in survival for metastatic melanoma. However, the report finds that for several other major cancers, including prostate, colorectal and female breast cancers, previous declining trends in death rates slowed or disappeared.

The report, appearing in JNCI: The Journal of the National Cancer Institute, also finds that overall cancer incidence rates continue to increase among females, children, and adolescents and young adults (AYA). All trends in this report cover the period before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual report is a collaborative effort among the American Cancer Society (ACS); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR).

The report shows a decrease in death rates for 11 of the 19 most common cancers among men, and for 14 of the 20 most common cancers among women, over the most recent period (2014-2018). Although declining trends in death rates accelerated for lung cancer and melanoma over this period, previous declining trends for colorectal and female breast cancer death rates slowed and those for prostate cancer leveled off. Death rates increased for a few cancers like brain and other nervous system and pancreas in both sexes, oral cavity and pharynx in males, and liver and uterus in females.

“The declines in lung cancer and melanoma death rates are the result of progress across the entire cancer continuum – from reduced smoking rates to prevent cancer to discoveries such as targeted drug therapies and immune checkpoint inhibitors,” said Karen E. Knudsen, MBA, PhD., Chief Executive Officer, American Cancer Society. “While we celebrate the progress, we must remain committed to research, patient support, and advocacy to make even greater progress to improve the lives of cancer patients and their families.”

An analysis of long-term trends in cancer death rates in this year’s report also shows that death rate declines accelerated in both males and females from 2001 to 2018. In males, a decline of 1.8% per year in 2001 to 2015 accelerated to a decline of 2.3% per year during 2015 to 2018. In females, a decline of 1.4% per year from 2001 to 2015 accelerated to a decline of 2.1% per year during 2015 to 2018. The report found that overall cancer death rates decreased in every racial and ethnic group during 2014 to 2018.

“It is encouraging to see a continued decline in death rates for many of the common cancers,” said Karen Hacker, MD, MPH, Director of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “To dismantle existing health disparities and give everyone the opportunity to be as healthy as possible, we must continue to find innovative ways to reach people across the cancer care continuum–from screening and early detection to treatment and support for survivors.”

However, increases in cancer incidence and death rates or deceleration of previous declining trends for some other cancers such as colorectal and female breast cancers are likely due to risk factors such as obesity.

“The continued decline in cancer death rates should be gratifying to the cancer research community, as evidence that scientific advances over several decades are making a real difference in outcomes at the population level,” said Norman E. “Ned” Sharpless, MD, Director of the National Cancer Institute, of the National Institutes of Health. “I believe we could achieve even further improvements if we address obesity, which has the potential to overtake tobacco use to become the leading modifiable factor associated with cancer.”

The authors report that cancer death rates continued to decrease among children (aged <15 years) and AYAs (aged 15-39 years) despite an increase in incidence rates from 2001 to 2017. Overall cancer incidence rates in children and AYA increased in all racial/ethnic groups except American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) children where rates remained stable. The most common cancer among AYA was female breast cancer.

“When evaluating health disparities, it is critical to acknowledge the social factors that influence the health of the communities and access to health care,” said Betsy A. Kohler, MPH, NAACCR Executive Director. “Social and economic indicators, particularly based on small area assessments, are increasingly important to understanding the burden of cancer.”

The authors indicate these findings can help inform healthcare providers about the need to increase efforts related to cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment, and for the need for equitable implementation of effective interventions, especially among under-resourced populations.

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