Steady progress in fighting cancer
Good news: Fewer Americans are dying of cancer. Since reaching an all-time high in 1991, the U.S. death rate from all forms of the disease has dropped 25_percent, according to a new report from the American Cancer Society (ACS). Cancer cases have steadily declined at the rate of about 1.5_percent a year, which researchers attribute to reductions in smoking ra tes, improvements in early detection and treatment, and greater access to health care. If cancer death rates had remained unchanged over the past quarter-century, about 2_million more people would have died from the disease. The decline is “a powerful sign of the potential we have to reduce cancer’s deadly toll,” the ACS’s Otis Brawley tells The Washington Post. But the war against the disease is far from won. There will be nearly 1.7_million new cancer diagnoses this year, and 600,000 deaths. Nearly half of all adult cancer deaths are from just four forms of the disease—lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate; there’s been very slow progress in treating lung and pancreatic cancers. The report found that the gender gap remains—the death rate is 40_percent higher among men, who are more likely than women to drink heavily and smoke—and noted that levels of obesity, a significant risk factor for the disease, continue to rise.