American Cancer Society: US cancer deaths continue to decline

U.S. cancer deaths fell by a record 2.4 percent between 2017 and 2018, leading to an overall 31 percent drop since 1991, according to the American Cancer Society's 2021 Cancer Statistics report published Jan. 12. 

The 31 percent drop translates to about 3.2 million fewer cancer deaths. ACS linked the progress to less smoking and improvements to non-small cell lung cancer treatment in recent years. Between 2014 and 2018, lung cancer accounted for nearly 50 percent of the total cancer mortality decline. 

While declines in the lung cancer mortality rate have accelerated, they've come to a halt for prostate cancer and slowed for breast and colorectal cancers. 

The report also estimates nearly 1.9 million people will be newly diagnosed with cancer in 2021 and predicts 608,570 deaths. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted access to cancer care and treatments, particularly during early stages of the pandemic, which could ultimately translate to an increased cancer mortality rate down the line. The effects of the pandemic, however, will likely take several years to quantify, according to researchers. 

To view the full report, click here.

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