A Study, “Cancer Statistics, 2017” published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, reported that cancer death rates have fallen by 25 percent. There remains, however, gender and racial differences when detecting and treating the devastating disease. This decrease, according to researchers, means that fewer people (about two million) died from cancer between 1991 and 2014. For the upcoming year, the report estimated that over 1,000,000 new cancer cases would be diagnosed 600,000 people will die from the disease.
The study stated that the decrease in death was due to smoking reduction and the “advances in early detection and treatment,” and accessibility to healthcare, according to Live Science. In a statement published by the American Cancer Society (ACS), Otis W. Brawley, MD, FACP, the chief medical officer said that the death rates are a “sign of the potential we have to reduce cancer’s deadly toll.” He went on to say that the continued success needs “more clinical and basic research to improve early detection and treatment,” that included increasing nationwide healthy attitudes and behaviors. Knowledge of the disease, Dr. Brawley said, needs to exist “across all segments of the population, particularly to disadvantaged groups.”
The most common types of the disease are lung, breast, prostate, and colon. For men, prostate cancer screenings are not recommended anymore due to overdiagnosis, which means less prostate cancer is being diagnosed. In lung cancer, more people are quitting smoking as fewer people smoke. As for colon cancer as screening increases, more pre-cancerous growths are found and removed. The “death rate declined from 215 deaths per 100,000 people in 1991 to 161 deaths per 100,000 people in 2014.”
The gender and racial differences in cancer rates remain. More men are likely to get the disease than women and are more liable to die from it. This difference is due to the type of cancer affecting the genders. Liver, esophageal, laryngeal, and bladder cancers affect more men than women, according to Live Science. Blacks were more likely to die from cancer than whites but that gap narrowed from 47 percent to 21 percent in men and 20 percent to 13 percent in women. However, the death rate was “still 15 percent higher in blacks than in whites.” Better accessibility to health care may have a hand in closer this particular gap, with uninsured people of color decreasing between 2010 and 2015.
By Cheryl Werber