Overall Cancer Related Deaths Continues to Drop

On January 12, 2022, the American Cancer Society (ACS) published its yearly statistics. Each year they review and compile data to approximately determine the number of new cancer cases and cancer deaths in the United States (US) in the upcoming year. Cancer is the 2nd most common cause of death in the US

It is estimated that in 2022 in the US, there will be 1,918,030 new cases of cancer and 609,360 deaths caused by cancer. The cancer death rate in the US has decreased by 32% compared to when it was at its peak between the years 1991 and 2019. At that time there were 215 cancer deaths per every 100,000 people. Currently, it is 146 cancer deaths per 100,000 people. The data shows that the decrease is due to the progress against lung cancer which is the leading cause of cancer deaths.

Lung Cancer

The leading cause of cancer death continues to be lung cancer. Approximately 350 people will die every day in the US from lung cancer. Although this number seems high, data shows that people with lung cancer are getting diagnosed earlier and they are living longer. In 2004, only 21% of people diagnosed with lung cancer lived another 3 years. Currently, 30% of people are living at least 3 years after their diagnosis. The mortality rates for lung cancer have dropped approximately 5% every year between 2015 and 2019. This is thought to be due to earlier diagnosis, a decline in smoking, increased screening, and the use of new targeted treatments.

Targeted treatment therapies are medications that target specific genes and cells that help cancer survive and spread. In the last ten years, 20 target medications have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Another consideration is that diagnostic procedures have become more definitive providing better answers for physicians allowing immunotherapy to start earlier in the treatment plan.

Prostate Cancer, Breast Cancer, & Cervical Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men and Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. Both prostate and breast cancer case numbers have increased over the past year. Cervical cancer has also proven to be difficult. Ten women die every day from cervical cancer which is frustrating because it is preventable if screening is completed correctly in a timely manner.

Racial and Socioeconomic Disparities

There is known to be long-term systematic racism in healthcare in the United States. Research has shown that for the majority of cancers, African Americans have a lower survival rate than whites. African American women have the highest mortality rate of all races. Consider that African American women’s breast cancer mortality rate is 41% higher than white women even though breast cancer occurrence is 4% lower in African American women compared to white women.

The American Cancer Society yearly statistics estimate that in 2022 approximately 1,918,030 new cases of cancer will occur in the United States and there will be 609,360 cancer deaths. Cancer statistics have decreased due to faster diagnosis, preventative screenings, targeted therapies, and a decrease in smoking. It is believed that COVID will cause treatment delays that may increase numbers next year.