The good news is that cancer in the United States has declined in the 25 years ending in 2016, with declining mortality rates, especially the four most common types of dreaded suffering.
However, there is a warning. These gains were mostly earned by the wealthy. As racial disparities began to decline, the impact of limited treatment access for the poorest Americans increased wealth-based inequality, according to the annual update on population trends and statistics. American Cancer Society
"With a disease as serious as cancer, when there is a substantial reduction in deaths, it is a remarkable achievement," he says. Len Lichtenfeld, acting medical director of the American Cancer Society. "But there are still many areas for improvement."
Health insurance and access to care may be a problem in some poor and rural parts of the country, where there are higher mortality rates for colon, cervix and lung cancer, according to the publication. Cancer statistics for 2019. Although poverty was associated with lower rates of cancer before the 1980s, the trend reversed, in part due to changes in diet and smoking, as well as rates of detection and treatment, says the organization
It is estimated that 201 million will be diagnosed in 1.8 million new cases of cancer in the US, and 606,880 Americans are expected to die of the disease, according to Cancer Statistics. The group found that the reduction of 1 to 2% per year in the general mortality rate between 1991 and 2016, the latest available year, meant that the country avoided about 2.6 million deaths in the period.
It is possible to easily implement approaches that further reduce cancer mortality rates, such as better detection, says Lichtenfeld. He was especially surprised that nine women between the ages of 20 and 39 die every week from cervical cancer in the United States, even though they have been vaccinated. for Gardasil from Merck & Co. You can avoid their training.
"Losing nine young women a week from a disease that can usually be prevented is something we should pay attention to," he said.
The good news will likely remain for a long time, says Lichtenfeld. The reductions seen since 1991 do not include most of the benefits of recent medical advances, such as Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s Opdivo medicines and Merck's Keytruda, which help the human immune system to attack tumors.
"Much of what we see here is due to public health initiatives such as quitting smoking and conducting early detection tests," he explains. "We do not begin to see the impact of the changes that are occurring at the moment in the care of people with cancer."
"We are on the right track, we still have a long way to go, but one part is simply blocking and attacking," says Lichtenfeld. As always, he added, diet, exercise, detection and access to effective treatments are the main weapons against the disease.