HealthDay News — In both men and women in the United States, the cancer death rate declined by about 1.5% annually from 2006 to 2015, according to a study published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Rebecca L. Siegel, MPH, from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues estimated the number of new cancer cases and deaths that will occur in the United States in 2018. Incidence and mortality data were obtained through 2014 and 2015, respectively.

The researchers project that 1,735,350 new cancer cases and 609,640 cancer deaths will occur in the United States in 2018. The cancer incidence rate was stable in women from 2005 to 2014 and decreased by about 2% annually in men. The cancer death rate decreased by about 1.5% annually for men and women from 2006 to 2015. 

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From 1991 to 2015 there was a continuous decrease of 26% in the combined cancer death rate, resulting in about 2,378,600 fewer cancer deaths than would have been expected if death rates had stayed at their peak. From 2014 to 2015, of the 10 leading causes of death, only cancer declined. The cancer death rate was 14% higher in non-Hispanic blacks than non-Hispanic whites; the racial disparity was larger for those aged <65 years (death rate ratio, 1.31) than those aged ≥65 years (death rate ratio, 1.07).

“Larger racial inequalities in young and middle-aged adults probably partly reflect less access to high-quality health care,” the authors write.

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Siegel RL, Miller KD, Jemel A. Cancer statistics, 2018 [published online January 4, 2018]. CA Cancer J Clin. doi: 10.3322/caac.21442