Cancer Is Afflicting And Killing Fewer Americans

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Researchers at the American Cancer society say cancer prevention, detection and treatment are eroding the disease’s impact. Between 2004 and 2008, cancer claimed fewer American patients and victims, presumably leading to a decrease that continues to this day.

HealthDay reports the fatality rate for cancer-afflicted women has dropped 1.6 percent, while the rate for men has dipped 1.8 percent. The 2008 numbers are even more impressive when stacked against those of 1990, when cancer death rates were 23 percent higher for men and 15 percent higher for women. In that longer span, estimates a senior author of the report, about one million lives that would have been lost to cancer were spared.

Although the news is encouraging, cancer shows no signs of decreasing its stranglehold on the public. Nearly 600,000 people are expected to die from cancer this year, accounting for about one out of every four deaths.

Cancer Incidence, Death Rates Continue to Drop: Report [HealthDay via MSN]

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  1. rpm773 says:

    The coaches are currently on an 11-0 run. Cancer had better call a time out.

  2. cameronl says:

    I blame the OP.
    Wait, what?

  3. Cat says:

    Woo Hoo! I’m going to go for a smoke now…

  4. ace says:

    I hate to be so morbid, but do they expect a mere 2,400,000 people in the whole world to die this year?

    • ace says:

      That’s less than 0.04% of the world’s population.

    • Rebecca K-S says:

      That number is actually for the US.

    • ace says:

      “Nearly 600,000 people are expected to die from cancer this year, accounting for about one out of every four deaths.” This needs to be reworded if it only applies to America.

      • jjonathany says:

        Reread the headline and the first paragraph. It’s pretty clear the whole post is referring to Americans.

      • theduckay says:

        The title of the article is “Cancer is Afflicting and Killing Fewer Americans”…therefore, why would you not assume the whole article was referring to Americans? Its common sense.

  5. clippy2.0 says:

    Good, maybe we can focus on some other diseases again. Cure diabetes, and go!

  6. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    That’s definitely good news because fewer Americans have the resources to pay for cancer treatment.

  7. peggysister says:

    Cancer is big business. A huge money maker. People are living longer and beating cancer but to totally get rid of it. It’d never happen. Too much money involved. I’ve sat in two waiting rooms with friends when they went through chemo. Standing room only.

    • sjackson12 says:

      As someone who works with cancer researchers, I really doubt they are holding back on a cure in order to make more money treating it.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I think it’s one of those situations where individuals are rational and compassionate actors but are part of a bigger, flawed system full of perverse incentives.

      • SilverBlade2k says:

        I’m not too sure on that.

        I am someone who was diagnosed with cancer, and I see *ALL THE TIME* that Big Pharma will do anything to avoid producing a cure for it. There are plenty of plants out there that can defeat it, but because of some weird patent law, those plants can’t be patented..so Big Pharma is not interested whatsoever.

        Big Pharma will only do things that will turn a profit, and that includes holding back or not investing in potential cures. There’s more money based on *treatment*..not in cures.

        • magnetic says:

          If that’s the case, just use the plants. Why do you need to fork over a ton of money to an rx company if the plants already work?

  8. dangerp says:

    Is it possible that we are just catching more cancers that would not have spread and the patients would not have otherwise known about? We have become a lot more efficient about finding small amounts of cancer in otherwise healthy individuals, especially compared to the 1970s

    Correlation does not always imply causation.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      “Researchers at the American Cancer society say cancer prevention, detection and treatment are eroding the disease’s impact. “

      It was the very first sentence. So yes, the correlation between increased cancer detection and treatment methods and decreased cancer deaths implies causation. What did you think they were talking about??

      • TerpBE says:

        I think he’s trying to say that because we are better at detecting cancer, it’s increasing the number of known cases, so even if the number of deaths are the same, the percentage of those killed would be smaller.

        For example, let’s say a certain type of cancer kills 10% of those that have it, but we only diagnose it 50% of the time. So if 100 people have it, we’ll know about 50 of them, and 10 will die. So it will appear to have a 20% fatality rate. (This assumes that it is identified in all those who die).

        Now let’s say we improve detection methods, so we’re able to identify all 100 people that have it. If 10 of those die, it will appear to be a 10% fatality rate. However, nothing has actually changed in the fatality rate of the cancer – just our ability to identify the number of non-fatal cases.

      • okt says:
  9. kataisa says:

    One theory: Is it possible that cancer is afflicting less Americans because more Americans are becoming vegetarian?

  10. crispyduck13 says:

    Excellent news, so we should totally stop doing mammograms and pap smears every year. Totally not necessary.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I’m sure the major health insurers would agree with that sentiment.

      If cancer is caught early, then they would have to pay for treatment. If diagnosis is put off for a few years, then either another insurer or Medicare would be stuck with the bill.

  11. Raekwon says:
  12. flipflopju says:

    One item of note- “Adolescents and young adults aged 15-to-39 account for more than 72,000 new cancers every year — seven times more than pediatric cancers. Unlike other groups, their mortality rates have not improved.”

    One reason for this is that many young adults get cancers that don’t have tests that lead to early detection but another is that so many doctors refuse to look for cancers in young adults. I was very lucky to have a tumor on my lymph nodes in my neck that I could see and get checked out so within a week I had a Hodgkin’s diagnosis and was already at stage II, even though I was asymptomatic. I knew several people with symptoms (itching, night sweats) and their doctors would blame allergies. Then after months and increased symptoms they might get a needle biopsy which have notoriously high inaccuracies for a disease like lymphoma. Nearly everyone I knew had stage 4 cancer because it took them over a year to get diagnosed.

    GPs and pediatric doctors can always learn more about cancers with high rates in young adults, like lymphomas, leukemia, thyroid cancer, and sarcomas. Another huge issue with young adults is how our treatments often put us at risk for secondary cancers but so many doctors focus only on treating the first cancer and not the long-term damage or future risks (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57352449/gains-in-cancer-fight-but-not-for-young-adults/) I have thyroid failure, neuropathy, lung damage, Raynaud’s disease, and who knows what else as a consequence of my treatment. I’m lucky, one of my fellow survivors had a heart attack and died last year after 4 years because she had so much damage to her heart and tissue. She was 28 and training for a marathon. No doctor ever thought to check her heart even though she was on a chemo drug that indicated heart damage could occur.

    Tl;dr- young adults aren’t seeing the gains adults are and we should be angry and proactive.

  13. Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

    Call Dr Wilson. House will always say it’s not cancer. Or lupus.

  14. MECmouse says:

    I think it’s killing fewer because they’re dying of more obesity-related diseases. Heart attack, stroke, diabetes (kidney failure and you can only cut off so many body parts), etcetera.