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NEW YORK — Researchers on Wednesday reported the largest-ever one-year decline in the U.S. cancer death rate, a drop they credited to advances in lung-tumor treatments.

The overall cancer death rate has been falling about 1.5% a year since 1991. It fell 2.2% from 2016 to 2017, according to the new American Cancer Society report. That’s the largest drop ever seen in national cancer statistics going back to 1930, said Rebecca Siegel, the lead author.


“It’s absolutely driven by lung cancer,” which accounts for about a quarter of all cancer deaths, she said. Take lung cancer out of the mix, and the 2017 rate drop is 1.4%, she added.

Government researchers previously reported a slightly lower drop in the cancer death rate for the same period. But the Cancer Society calculates the death rate differently, and on Wednesday said the decline was larger — and record-setting.

Most lung cancer cases are tied to smoking, and decades of declining smoking rates led to falling rates of lung cancer illnesses and deaths.


But the drop in deaths seems to have been accelerated by recent lung cancer treatment advances, Siegel said.

Experts mainly credit advances in treatment. Topping the list are refinements in surgery, better diagnostic scanning, and more precise use of radiation.

They also celebrate the impact of newer drugs. Genetic testing can now identify specific cancer cell mutations, which allow more targeted therapy using newer pharmaceuticals that are a step beyond traditional chemotherapy.

“It’s an exciting time,” said Dr. Jyoti Patel, a Northwestern University lung cancer expert.

Even patients with late-stage cancers are surviving for several years — rather than months — after treatment starts, she said. “That was very, very uncommon a decade ago,” she said.

New immunotherapy drugs could accelerate the death rate decline, Patel said.

Cancer Society researchers also found:

— The overall cancer death rate fell by nearly 30% from 1991 through 2017.

— Death rates from one type of skin cancer dropped even more dramatically than lung cancer — falling 7% a year recently. That decline in melanoma patients is attributed to drugs that came on the market about nine years ago.

— Declines in the death rates from prostate, breast and colon cancer are slowing, for a range of reasons.

— The rising liver cancer death rate seems to have leveled off somewhat. That may be related to better treatment of hepatitis C infections, which are tied to about 25% of liver cancer cases, Siegel said.

— Mike Stobbe

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

  • i have not as yet read this report that you have forwarded to others and i Trevor Merchant web site today .Tuesday .January , 14. 2020 . h as time would not permit me to complete all of the other issues that i am dealing with currently . However not with standing , i be making all the effort and discipline to read it in it?s entirely later this evening at a dunkin store .,while having a cup of coffee . .As indicated on this report .i gather or conclude that this report or message sent to us the Public as to the massive improvement of this Killer Super Bug namely Cancer is false .misleading and one more method or ploy to the mostly unread ,uneducated and uninformed . yes as i repeatedly have written it is a extremely dangerous and disasterous period of time we are living in when there are such a significant percent of the population globally for whom are unread . and there fore lack the information of The Knowledge is Power .Doctrine . more to come Trevor .Merchant . today . Tuesday . January , 14. 2020 at 3. 51 p.m .Eastern Standard time . New York City .

  • There is a large difference between the number of diagnoses of lung cancer and the deaths reported from lung cancer. The article is confusing if not misleading. It talks about fewer people smoking being a component to lower death rates. Duh! Obviously. But it also talks about advances in lung cancer treatment being a component of lower death rates. Which is it or both.

    So if you have lung cancer, are your chances of a “cure” any better due to medical treatment?

    Just remember, there is no money to be made from a “cure” compared to a “treatment.”

    For 30 years now, I have heard, “the cure for cancer is just around the corner”.
    You decide…..

  • Like I said Branwen… I live it. I don’t need anyone telling me it doesn’t work.
    You. Don’t. Know.
    Evil people? I think not. Unfortunately, it sounds like someone holds hate in their heart.
    Blessings to all.

    • No! CBD oil is another con, it is unlikely there is even CBD in the product you are using or trying to sell here. It is not against the law or any regulation to sell vegetable oil or any other crap and claim it is expensive CBD.

  • This is great news. I find it very odd that medical cannabis legalization in many states was not mentioned as a contributing factor in this decrease. I reduced my tumors from multiple cancers with cannabis oil prior to my mastectomies and chemotherapy. I am now 5 years NED without taking aromatase inhibitors, or Tamoxifen. I only take cannabis oil daily as a preventative from metastasis. I know of many patients that now medicate with oil and tinctures that have reduced their tumors as well. Many stage 4 patients that have now went with cannabis are also NEAD as well. That is a miracle that I am blessed to live every day. I know that this has declined the death rate and the metastasis rate in breast cancers. I am in groups with hundreds of other patients. Also, the fact that declines in the death rates from prostate, breast and colon cancer are slowing, for a range of reasons. These are cancers that respond very well from cannabis therapy. We are living proof. This is wonderful news. Dawn Ann

    • Plenty of people are dead now too, due to unsolicited medical advice found on sites like this. There is no evince that marijuana treats or cures any cancer, thought here are a lot of evil and unscrupulous people using the Internet to spread dangerous misinformation.

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