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Cancer Death Rate Has Its Biggest Single-Year Drop Reported

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The United States cancer death rate experienced its biggest single-year drop ever reported in 2017, according to the American Cancer Society.

Cancer death rates in the United States dropped 2.2% during 2017, the American Cancer Society said Wednesday according to the Washington Post. This drop is partially due to medical and societal gains against lung cancer reflected in both falling smoking rates and new treatments, Rebecca Siegal, who is the lead author of the American Cancer Society’s annual report “Cancer Statistics 2020,” told the Post.

The report projected 1.8 million new United States cases of cancer as well as more than 606,000 deaths related to cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths, Siegel said, so changes in the lung cancer mortality rate strongly affect the overall cancer rates. The drop in cancer death rates is “exciting” to Siegel, but  “the news this year is mixed” because of slower progress against breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer.

The cancer rate has been defined by the cancer society since 1920 as deaths per 100,000 people, the Post reports from the new report. Cancer is the number one cause of death in many states, the number one cause of death for Hispanic and Asian Americans, and the number one cause of death for people younger than 80. Cancer falls second as the national cause of death behind heart disease for men and women.

The most recent available data is from 2017 and reflects a drop in cancer deaths mostly due to the decreased smoking rates. The cancer death rate peaked in 1991, the Post reports, and since then has fallen to 2.9 million or 29% less deaths.

The American Cancer Society did not yet respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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