NCI’s Annual Report Finds Overall Cancer Mortality Rates Continue to Fall

Fewer patients are dying from cancer, according to the 2018 “Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer,” a collaborative report from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Cancer Society, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR).

The decline was evident among patients of all ages, genders, and racial-ethnic groups. “This year’s report is an encouraging indicator of progress we’re making in cancer research,” according to NCI Director Ned Sharpless, MD. “As overall death rates continue to decline for all major racial and ethnic groups in the United States, it’s clear that interventions are having an impact.”

The 2018 report includes mortality data from 1999 through 2015. During this period, overall cancer death rates decreased by 1.8 percent per year among men and by 1.4 percent per year among women.

Mortality rates decreased for 11 of the 18 most common cancer types in men and for 14 of the 20 most common cancer types in women. However, the mortality rates for several cancers (including liver, uterine, and pancreatic) has increased. These patterns are attributed to obesity and, in the case of liver cancer, the high prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection among baby boomers.

In addition, rates of new cancers dropped for seven of the most common cancer types in men and seven of the 18 most common cancer types among women between 2010 and 2014.

“This report underscores that if cancer is caught early, when it has the best chance of being treated, patients can live longer,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD. “Early detection and timely, quality treatment are keys to saving lives.”

Source: NCI press release, May 22, 2018.