Death Rates Continued To Decline For All Cancers


Death rates continued to decline for all cancers combined, as well as for most cancers for men and women of all major racial and ethnic populations, according to the Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer (1975 – 2012). The overall cancer death rates for both sexes combined decreased by 1.5 percent per year from 2003 to 2012, the report said. Incidence rates—new cancer cases that are diagnosed per 100,000 people in the U.S.—decreased among men and remained stable for women between 2003 and 2012. However, liver cancer has increased compared to all other cancers.

Progress in both prevention and early detection account for the ongoing decrease in cancer, according to the report. Fewer deaths from cancer in those same groups may also reflect better treatments. Tobacco control efforts have contributed to lower rates of lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women, along with many other types of cancer.

“The latest data show many cancer prevention programs are working and saving lives,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. “But the growing burden of liver cancer is troublesome. We need to do more work promoting hepatitis testing, treatment, and vaccination.”

Key findings on liver cancer:
  • From 2008 to 2012, liver cancer incidence increased an average of 2.3 percent per year overall, and the liver cancer-related death rate increased by an average of 2.8 percent per year among men and 3.4 percent per year among women.
  • In all racial and ethnic populations, about twice as many men as women were diagnosed with liver cancer.
  • Hepatitis C and liver cancer-associated death rates were highest among those born in 1945- 1965; these also represent the majority of Americans with hepatitis C infection.

The Report to the Nation is released each year in a collaborative effort by the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Cancer Institute, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.