Cancer Death Rate Is Going Down in U.S.
Researchers Say Lower Death Rate Is Due to Advances in Prevention and Treatment
WebMD News Archive
Aug. 13, 2009 -- Death rates from cancer have been decreasing in all age
groups in recent years, but the steepest declines have been among younger
people, a new study shows.
The findings suggest that measures for prevention, screening, and treatment
are leading to lower death rates, researchers report in Cancer Research,
a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
"Our efforts against cancer, including prevention, early detection and
better treatment, have resulted in profound gains, but these gains are often
unappreciated by the public due to the way the data are usually reported," says
Eric Kort, MD, who finished the study while working at the Van Andel Research
Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Kort and colleagues analyzed mortality data from 1955 to 2004 reported by
the National Center for Health Statistics and yearly U.S. population
The researchers write that previous reports of cancer mortality rates
emphasized what's happening among older people, hiding shifts in deaths caused
by the disease in younger groups.
"Age specific cancer mortality rates have been steadily declining in the
United States since the early 1950s, beginning with children and young adults
and now including all age groups," the researchers write.
In the second half of the 20th century, each successive decade of births
from 1925 to 1995 had a lower risk of cancer death than its predecessor,
suggesting that earlier detection, prevention, and treatment programs have been
The youngest age groups experienced the steepest average rate of decline at
25.9% per decade, the researchers say. But even the oldest groups recorded a
6.8% decline per decade.