Cancer death rates are falling steadily in the US, with more survivors than ever before

In the past three years, the number of cancer survivors in the US, defined as people alive who have had a cancer diagnosis, has increased by more than a million. There are 18 million survivors in the US as of January, and that number is expected to rise to 26 million by 2040, the association said. The report notes that there were only 3 million US cancer survivors in 1971.

For all cancers combined, the overall five-year survival rate has risen from 49% in the mid-1970s to nearly 70% from 2011 to 2017, the most recent years for which data are available.

The global age-adjusted cancer death rate continues to decline, with reductions between 1991 and 2019 resulting in nearly 3.5 million deaths averted, the association said.

Declines in smoking and improvements in catching and treating cancer early are driving change, according to the AACR’s 2022 Cancer Progress Report, released Wednesday.
Dr. Lisa Coussens, president of the association, said in a statement that part of the credit goes to an investment in research, both for treatments and for understanding the disease.

“Targeted therapies, immunotherapy and other new therapeutic approaches that are applied clinically come from fundamental discoveries in basic science,” he said. “Investment in cancer science, as well as support for science education at all levels, is absolutely essential to drive the next wave of discoveries and accelerate progress.”

For example, between August 1 and July 31, the US Food and Drug Administration approved eight cancer therapeutics, expanded the use of 10 previously approved drugs to treat new types of cancer and approved two diagnostic imaging agents, Coussens said at a news conference Wednesday.

Increased funding for cancer research is a cornerstone of President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative.

Biden, who lost a son to brain cancer, said this month that his goal is to cut America’s cancer death rates by at least half in the next 25 years.

“Cancer doesn’t discriminate between red and blue. It doesn’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat. Beating cancer is something we can do together,” said Biden, who initially led the initiative when he was vice president under Obama.

The new report urges Congress to fully fund and support Biden’s goal to “end cancer as we know it.”

“The reactivated Cancer Moonshot will provide an important framework for improving cancer prevention strategies; increasing cancer detections and early detection; reducing cancer disparities; and driving new life-saving treatments for cancer patients,” says l ‘report, and adds that “actions will transform cancer”. care, increase survival and bring life-saving care to the millions whose lives are affected by cancer.”

Although nearly 3.5 million cancer deaths were averted between 1991 and 2019, more than 600,000 people in the United States are still expected to die from cancer this year, according to the association.

“In the United States alone, the number of new cancer cases diagnosed each year is projected to reach nearly 2.3 million by 2040,” the report says.

About 40 percent of cancer cases in the United States are attributable to preventable risk factors, including smoking, drinking too much alcohol, eating a poor diet, not exercising enough and being obese, the report found.

Nearly half of cancer deaths worldwide are attributable to preventable risk factors, new study suggests

But there are also ongoing challenges, such as health disparities affecting racial and ethnic minorities and barriers to health care, such as limited health insurance coverage and living in rural areas.

In a taped statement played at the press conference, U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams said she learned after her mother died of cancer that “health care in America is still not a human right.”

“We have two health care systems in this country: one for people who can pay for preventive services and quality treatment and one for everyone else,” said Williams, a Democrat from Georgia.

It is also expected that the reversal of Roe v. Wade affects cancer care by limiting health care options for pregnant women with cancer, according to the report.

“With the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which ends the constitutional right to abortion, there is uncertainty about how a certain cancer treatment can lead to pregnancy termination. This “Uncertainty may prohibit some doctors from prescribing a drug or performing other health services in a timely manner because of the potential legal consequences for both the doctor and the mother,” according to the report.

The Covid-19 pandemic had an effect on cancer in the US, with nearly 10 million breast, colorectal and prostate cancer tests missed in 2020.

The report offers recommendations to build on progress and regain momentum.

“Moving forward to end cancer means more birthdays, more Christmases, more graduations and everyday moments for families everywhere,” Williams said.

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