In the United States, the risk of dying from cancer has been reduced by a third in 30 years

published on Wednesday January 12, 2022 at 7:40 p.m.

Cancer-related mortality has been reduced by about a third in the United States in just under 30 years, and the decline has accelerated in recent years thanks to earlier screenings, according to the annual report of the American Cancer Society published Wednesday.

“This success is largely due to the fact that fewer people smoke, which has resulted in a decline in lung cancer,” the type of cancer causing the highest number of deaths, notes the organization.

The cancer death rate was reduced by 32% between its peak in 1991 and 2019 (the most recent year for which data is available).

That translates to 3.5 million deaths averted in total, according to the report.

The decline was also accentuated: it was 1% per year in the 1990s, then around 2% annually between 2015 and 2019.

“The accelerated decline in cancer mortality shows the power of prevention, screening, and early diagnosis,” said the organization.

“In recent years, more people with lung cancer are diagnosed at an early stage, and therefore live longer,” she writes.

In 2004, only 21% of people diagnosed with lung cancer then lived at least three years, up from 31% in 2018.

Other factors, such as improved treatment, are contributing to the decline.

But the inequalities in the face of the disease are strong: survival rates are lower for black people than white people, and this for almost all types of cancer.

This is caused in particular by disparities in wealth, rooted in a “historical and persistent structural racism”, and making access to care more difficult for people of color, writes the organization.

In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has “greatly reduced” access to prevention and screening, and these delays “will likely worsen the disparities,” she said.

Cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the United States, after cardiovascular disease.

For 2022, the American Cancer Society anticipates 1.9 million new cases of cancer, and nearly 610,000 deaths – or 1,670 deaths per day.

According to the organization, 42% of these cancers are potentially preventable (by not smoking, by improving nutrition or physical activity, etc.).

President Joe Biden, whose son Beau died of cancer, wanted to make the fight against the disease one of the priorities of his mandate, but it has so far been largely eclipsed by the fight against the pandemic of Covid-19.

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