Statistics from the American Cancer Society (ACS) show a steady decline in cancer deaths between 2004 and 2008, with decreases of 1.8 percent per year in men and 1.6 percent per year in women, according to “Cancer Statistics 2012,” a report published online ahead of print in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. Lung cancer deaths in men and breast cancer deaths in women were among the most marked declines.
Overall cancer incidence rates declined by 0.6 percent per year in men, but remained stable in women, according to ACS.
Each year, the ACS estimates the numbers of new cancer cases and deaths expected in the U.S. in the current year and compiles the most recent data on cancer incidence, mortality and survival based on incidence data from the National Cancer Institute and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as reported by the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, and mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics.
“Cancer Facts & Figures 2012,” the report's accompanying consumer publication, includes a special section each year, which this year focuses on cancers with increasing incidence rates, including cancers of the pancreas and liver. While shifting trends in risk factors may have contributed to the rise in the number of these cancers, the report said increased detection through the growth of medical imaging also may be driving the elevated rates.
Other highlights from the report include:
- A total of 1,638,910 new cancer cases and 577,190 deaths from cancer are projected to occur in the U.S. in 2012.
- Death rates continue to decline for all four major cancer sites (lung, colorectum, breast and prostate), with lung cancer accounting for almost 40 percent of the total decline in men and breast cancer accounting for 34 percent of the total decline in women.
- Cancer incidence and death rates vary considerably among racial and ethnic groups. For all cancer sites combined, African American men have a 15 percent higher incidence rate and a 33 percent higher death rate than white men, whereas African American women have a 6 percent lower incidence rate but a 16 percent higher death rate than white women.
- Further progress can be accelerated by applying existing cancer control knowledge across all segments of the population, with an emphasis on those groups in the lowest socioeconomic bracket.
The ACS also acknowledged the role that imaging can play in the early detection of cancers, and referenced the National Lung Screening Trial which showed a 20 percent drop in lung cancer deaths among current and former heavy smokers who were screened with spiral CT compared with chest x-ray.