US Cancer Deaths Drop

Cancer deaths fell in recent years, but cancer remained a top cause of death

(RxWiki News) Over the past two decades, cancer deaths in the United States dropped by 27 percent. But there is still work to be done.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced the new numbers, which looked at cancer deaths from 1999 to 2019. In 1999, 200.8 people per 100,000 died from cancer in the US. By 2019, that figure was 146.2 per 100,000.

While these numbers represent a steep decline in cancer deaths in recent years, the drop still fell short of the goal US health officials have set for 2030: 122.7 per 100,000 or fewer.

Even with the drop in deaths, cancer remained a leading cause of death in the US. According to the CDC, cancer was only second to heart disease as a cause of death in the past 20 years.

And while the drop in cancer deaths was more pronounced in men, more men than women died from cancer over the past 20 years.

In 2019, 599,601 people died from cancer in the US. The types of cancer most often linked to deaths that year were as follows:

  • Lung cancer. This type of cancer accounted for 23 percent of all US cancer deaths (139,603 in total).
  • Colorectal cancer. This type of cancer accounted for 9 percent of all US cancer deaths (51,896 in total).
  • Pancreatic cancer. This type of cancer accounted for 8 percent of all US cancer deaths (45,886 in total).
  • Breast cancer. This type of cancer accounted for 7 percent of all US cancer deaths (42,281 in total).
  • Prostate cancer. This type of cancer accounted for 5 percent of all US cancer deaths (31,638 in total).
  • Liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer. This type of cancer accounted for 5 percent of all US cancer deaths (27,959 in total).

Because a wide variety of factors can determine cancer risk, it is difficult to attribute this drop in cancer deaths to any one cause. The CDC said reduced smoking rates, more cancer screenings, better state-level support for weight loss and new cancer treatments might have played a part.

Talk to your health care provider about cancer screenings and how you can reduce your cancer risk.

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Review Date: 
March 16, 2021