The death rate from cancer in the US has declined steadily over the past 2 decades, according to annual statistics reporting from the American Cancer Society. The cancer death rate for men and women combined fell 25% from its peak in 1991 to 2014, the most recent year for which data are available. This decline translates to more than 2.1 million deaths averted during this time period.

“Cancer Statistics, 2017,” published in the American Cancer Society’s journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, estimates the numbers of new cancer cases and deaths expected in the US this year. The estimates are some of the most widely quoted cancer statistics in the world. The information will also be released in a companion report, Cancer Facts & Figures 2017 and will be available on the interactive website, the Cancer Statistics Center.

A total of 1,688,780 new cancer cases and 600,920 deaths from cancer are projected to occur in the US in 2017.

During the most recent decade of available data, the rate of new cancer diagnoses decreased by about 2% per year in men and stayed about the same in women. The cancer death rate declined by about 1.5% annually in both men and women.

“The continuing drops in the cancer death rate are a powerful sign of the potential we have to reduce cancer’s deadly toll,” said Otis W. Brawley, MD, FACP, a chief medical officer of the ACS. “Continuing that success will require more clinical and basic research to improve early detection and treatment, as well as creative new strategies to increase healthy behaviors nationwide. Finally, we need to consistently apply existing knowledge in cancer control across all segments of the population, particularly to disadvantaged groups.”

Common cancer killers: lung, colon, prostate, and breast cancer

Lung, colorectal, prostate, and breast cancers continue to be among the most common causes of cancer death, accounting for about 46% of the total cancer deaths among men and women. More than 1 out of every 4 cancer deaths is due to lung cancer.

Among men, prostate, lung, and colorectal cancer will account for 42% of all newly diagnosed cancers in 2017, with prostate cancer alone accounting for about 1 in 5 cases. Among women, the 3 most common cancers in 2017 will be breast, lung, and colorectal, which together will account for about half of all cases. Breast cancer alone is expected to account for 30% of all new cancer cases among women.


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