When it comes to beating cancer, Americans are beginning to see some positive numbers. The latest annual report on the status of cancer in the U.S. shows that cancer death rates decreased by over 1.5% for men, women, and children; and survival rates for early and late-stage diseases “significantly improved.” But are these figures good enough? [1]

Death rates from lung, colorectal, and prostate cancer fell across all genders, races, and age groups, while deaths from female breast cancer also declined.

The report’s data come from data collected from 2010 to 2014 and were compiled by the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer. It’s published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Betsy A. Kohler, executive director of North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, says in a National Institutes of Health (NIH) statement:

“The continued drops in overall cancer death rates in the United States are welcome news, reflecting improvements in prevention, early detection, and treatment. But this report also shows us that progress has been limited for several cancers, which should compel us to renew our commitment to efforts to discover new strategies for prevention, early detection, and treatment, and to apply proven interventions broadly and equitably.” [1]

Overall cancer death rates are still falling in men of all racial and ethnic groups, but some bad news was tucked into the report. An upward trend in survival rates among men and women with liver cancer persists, and more men are dying from cancer of the pancreas and brain. Women had a rise in deaths from cancer of the uterus. [2]

Source: Journal of the National Cancer Institute

The 5-year survival rate of:

  • Pancreatic cancer – 8.5%
  • Liver cancer – 18.1%
  • Lung cancer – 18.7%
  • Cancer of the esophagus – 20.5%
  • Stomach cancer – 31%
  • Cancer of the brain – 35%

Read: Celery and Artichokes Useful Allies in Fight Against Pancreatic Cancer

The types of cancer with the highest 5-year survival rates include:

  • Prostate – 99.3%
  • Thyroid – 98.3%
  • Melanoma – 93.2%
  • Female breast cancer – 90.8%

Better Solutions are Desperately Needed

Despite numbers getting (arguably) better, the study’s authors say doctors must continue to doggedly pursue new treatments and note that many of the drugs currently on the market are too expensive for many patients to afford. They write:

“Some of the new cancer drugs cost $10,000 per month and are not affordable even by most insured patients because of the high out of pocket expenses, which are about 20 percent of the drug’s cost for Medicare-insured patients.

We must not only intensify efforts to develop effective targeted therapies and find cures, but also heighten our efforts to broadly and equitably apply proven preventative measures.” [3]

Sources:

[1] The Washington Times

[2] U.S. News & World Report

[3] Daily Mail

Journal of the National Cancer Institute


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