HealthDay News — According to a new report published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, cancer mortality rates in the United States have dropped 25% since the early 1990s.

The finding was drawn from the American Cancer Society’s latest cancer incidence and mortality estimates, which indicate that in 2017, 1,688,780 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer and 600,920 US cancer patients will die.

The investigators found that the cancer mortality rate hit its peak in 1991, before beginning a steady slide of roughly 1.5% per year among both men and women through 2014. 

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At the same time, cancer diagnoses fell about 2% per year among men, while holding steady among women. However, men remain 20% more likely to develop cancer and 40% more likely to die from it than women. Racial gaps also exist, though not quite as marked as in the past. 

While black men were 21% more likely to die from cancer than white men in 2014, that figure is a significant improvement on 1990, when black men faced a 47% higher odds of cancer death. Similarly, the report found that for black women those same figures fell from 20% in 1998 to 13% by 2014.

“The drop in cancer mortality is primarily the result of large declines in the 4 major causes of cancer death — lung, colorectal, breast and prostate — which account for almost half of all cancer deaths,” report author Rebecca Siegel, MPH, of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, told HealthDay. “This progress is driven by declines in smoking prevalence beginning in the 1960s and improvements in the early detection of cancer and cancer treatment.”


Siegel RL, Miller KD and Jemal A. “Cancer Statistics, 2017”. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2016. doi: 10.3322/caac.21387. [Epub ahead of print]

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