Annual Report to the Nation: Rapid Decline in Lung Cancer and Melanoma Deaths


ATLANTA – JULY 8, 2021 – Overall cancer death rates continue to decline among men and women for all racial and ethnic groups in the United States, according to the Nation’s latest annual cancer status report. Between 2001 and 2018, the decline in lung cancer death rates accelerated and melanoma death rates have declined significantly in recent years, reflecting a substantial increase in survival for metastatic melanoma. However, the report finds that for several other major cancers, including prostate, colorectal and female breast cancers, previous downward trends in death rates have slowed or disappeared.

The report, published in JNCI: The Journal of the National Cancer Institute, also finds that overall cancer incidence rates continue to rise in women, children, adolescents and young adults (AYA). All of the trends in this report cover the period leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual report is a collaborative effort between the American Cancer Society (ACS); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR).

The report shows a decrease in death rates for 11 of the 19 most common cancers in men and for 14 of the 20 most common cancers in women, during the most recent period (2014-2018). Although the downward trends in death rates accelerated for lung cancer and melanoma during this period, previous downward trends in death rates from colorectal cancer and female breast cancer have slowed down. and those of prostate cancer have stabilized. Death rates have increased for a few cancers such as the brain and other cancers of the nervous system and pancreas in both sexes, the oral cavity and pharynx in males, and the liver and uterus in females.

“The drop in lung cancer and melanoma death rates is the result of progress across the cancer continuum – from reducing smoking rates to prevent cancer to discoveries such as targeted drug therapies and inhibitors. of immune checkpoints, ”said Karen E. Knudsen, MBA, PhD., CEO of the American Cancer Society. “As we celebrate progress, we must remain engaged in research, patient support and advocacy to make even more progress to improve the lives of cancer patients and their families.”

An analysis of long-term trends in cancer death rates in this year’s report also shows that the decline in death rates accelerated among men and women from 2001 to 2018. Among men, a decline of 1.8% per year from 2001 to 2015 accelerated to become a decline. by 2.3% per year from 2015 to 2018. Among women, a decline of 1.4% per year from 2001 to 2015 accelerated to reach a decrease of 2.1% per year from 2015 to 2018. The report found that overall cancer death rates have declined in every breed. and ethnic group from 2014 to 2018.

“It is encouraging to see a continued decline in death rates for many common cancers,” said Karen Hacker, MD, MPH, director of the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “To eliminate existing health disparities and give everyone the opportunity to be as healthy as possible, we must continue to find innovative ways to reach people across the continuum of cancer care,” from screening and early detection to treating and supporting survivors. “

However, increases in cancer incidence and death rates or deceleration of previous downward trends for some other cancers such as colorectal and breast cancers in women are likely due to risk factors such as ‘obesity.

“The continued decline in cancer death rates should be gratifying for the cancer research community, as it proves that scientific advancements over several decades are making a real difference in population-level outcomes,” said Norman E. “Ned” Sharpless, MD, director of the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. “I believe we could make even more improvements if we tackle obesity, which has the potential to overtake smoking to become the main modifiable factor associated with cancer.”

The authors report that cancer death rates have continued to decline in children (aged

“When assessing health disparities, it is essential to recognize the social factors that influence the health of communities and access to health care,” said Betsy A. Kohler, MPH, Executive Director of the NAACCR. “Social and economic indicators, especially based on assessments of small areas, are increasingly important for understanding the burden of cancer.”

Other key findings include:

  • Overall cancer incidence rates were higher in males than females in all racial and ethnic groups except the Asian / Pacific island population, where the rates were similar.
  • Overall, cancer incidence rates were slightly lower in blacks than in whites.
  • In contrast, overall cancer death rates were higher among blacks than among whites.
  • Liver cancer incidence rates were previously on the rise, but data shows rates have leveled off in both men and women.
  • The two-year relative survival for late-stage melanoma cases diagnosed between 2001 and 2009 was stable, but increased 3.1% per year for those diagnosed between 2009 and 2014.
  • Two-year relative survival increased only slightly for early and middle-stage melanoma cases diagnosed between 2001 and 2014 (0.03% and 0.4% per year, respectively).

The authors indicate that these findings may help educate healthcare providers about the need to increase efforts related to cancer prevention, early detection and treatment, and the need for equitable implementation of cancer prevention, early detection and treatment. ‘effective interventions, especially among underfunded populations.


Article: Annual report to the nation on the cancer situation, Part I: National cancer statistics. JNCI: The Journal of the National Cancer Institute. doi: 10.1093 / jnci / djab131.

URL under embargo: https: //do /ten.1093 /jnci /djab131

About the American Cancer Society: The American Cancer Society is a local, global force of 1.5 million volunteers dedicated to saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a cancer-free world. For more than 100 years, the American Cancer Society has been the leading organization in the fight against cancer in the United States through research, education, advocacy, and patient service. We have helped lead the evolution of how the world prevents, detects, treats and views cancer. For more information, visit http: // www.Cancer.organization.

About the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): CDC works 24/7 to protect the health, safety, and security of the United States. Whether diseases begin at home or abroad, whether curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or the result of human activity or deliberate attack, the CDC responds to the most pressing health threats. in the USA. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located in the United States and around the world.

About the National Cancer Institute (NCI):? NCI? leads the efforts of the National Cancer Program and the NIH to dramatically reduce cancer prevalence and improve the lives of cancer patients and their families, through cancer prevention and biology research, the development of new interventions, and training and mentoring new researchers. For more information on cancer, please visit the NCI website at? Or call the NCI contact center, Cancer Information Service, at 1-800-4- CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH):? NIH, the national agency for medical research, comprises 27 institutes and centers and is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH is the principal federal agency that conducts and supports basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and studies the causes, treatments, and cures for common and rare diseases. For more information about the NIH and its programs, visit?

About the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR): The North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, Inc., is a professional organization that develops and promotes uniform data standards for registration cancer; provides education and training; certifies population-based registers; consolidates and publishes data from central cancer registries; and encourages the use of cancer data and surveillance systems for cancer control and epidemiological research, public health programs and patient care to reduce the burden of cancer in North America. To learn more, visit


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