Deaths from cancer have continued a steep decline in the United States from 2014 to 2018, mostly due to reduced deaths from skin and lung cancers. This according to a report was released from the American Cancer Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Cancer Institute, and North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.
- Overall deaths from cancer declined 2.2 percent for men and a little less than 2 percent for women over 4 years.
- Declines in death were consistent for all races and ethnicities.
- There were significantly greater reductions in lung cancer and skin cancer (melanoma) deaths than other cancers.
- Experts say that better detection and treatment options have driven much of the improvement in skin and lung cancer survival rates.
However, the new report finds increased rates of new cases of cancer and death rates, or the slowing of previous declining trends for other cancers, such as colorectal and breast, are likely due to risk factors like obesity.
According to Dr. Wasif M. Saif, deputy physician in chief and medical director at Northwell Health Cancer Institute in Lake Success, New York “Early detection and screening as well as modification in risk factors, including diet [and] exercise, are vital in reducing cancer diagnosis and improved outcomes.”
Saif suggests some lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of developing cancer.
“Avoidance of tobacco and limiting alcohol consumption along with following a balanced diet with exercise can help reduce our risk,” he said. “Some viruses have been linked with increased cancer risk. Vaccinations are available for human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV).”