Cancer deaths have decreased by 33 percent in 30 years

Cancer deaths have decreased by 33 percent in 30 years

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Cancer deaths in the U.S. have declined 33 percent over the past three decades, according to a new study by the American Cancer Society.

The study, published Thursday in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, estimates that this resulted in about 3.8 million fewer deaths.

After peaking in 1991, cancer death rates have continued to decline over the past 30 years due to a decline in smoking and improved cancer detection and treatment, according to the study.

This trend continued in 2020 – the latest year for which data is available – with a further 1.5 per cent decrease in deaths compared to 2019.

Twice as many deaths were averted among men as among women — about 2.6 million compared with about 1.2 million — which the study attributed to a higher peak and faster decline in death rates among men. Men still have a higher death rate from cancer than women, despite this rapid decline.

The decline in lung cancer mortality is a particular driver of this trend, the study notes. However, lung cancer remains among the deadliest forms of cancer, holding the highest death rate for both men and women.

Cancer was the second leading cause of death in the US in 2020 after heart disease and followed by COVID-19.

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