While overall cancer mortality is declining, the rise in colorectal cancer deaths, especially among younger adults, and the increasing incidence of certain cancers highlight the need for continued efforts in cancer prevention, detection, and treatment.
Overall Decline in Cancer Mortality: Despite an overall projected decline in cancer mortality in the U.S. in 2024, the number of new cancer diagnoses is expected to exceed 2 million for the first time, according to an annual report from the American Cancer Society.
Rise in Colorectal Cancer Deaths: Colorectal cancer has risen from the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the late 1990s for both sexes under the age of 50 to the first in men and second in women, behind breast cancer. This increase in colorectal cancer mortality is a significant concern that needs to be addressed.
Increased Incidence Rates for Top Cancers: Incidence rates for six of the top 10 cancers in the U.S. rose annually between 2015 and 2019. This includes prostate, liver, kidney, melanoma, HPV-associated oral cancers, cervical, colorectal, breast, pancreatic, and uterine corpus cancers.
Projected New Cancer Diagnoses and Deaths: The American Cancer Society report estimates 2,001,140 new cancer diagnoses in 2024 and 611,720 deaths. The cancers with the highest number of new cases are expected to be breast, prostate, and lung and bronchial cancers, while the most deaths are projected from lung and bronchial, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers.
Improved Survival Rates: Individuals with cancer are living longer today, with 5-year survival rates increasing from 49% in the mid-1970s to 69% from 2013 to 2019.
Racial Disparities in Cancer Mortality: The report highlights significant racial disparities in cancer mortality rates. Black individuals with certain cancers are at least twice as likely to die as white individuals with the same diseases. Black women with breast cancer have a 41% higher mortality rate than white women, despite a lower incidence rate.
HPV Vaccine Impact: The incidence of invasive cervical cancer for women aged 20 to 24 years decreased significantly due to the HPV vaccine. However, women aged 30 to 44 years saw a 1.7% annual increase in invasive cervical cancer incidence.
Cancer Trends in Children and Adolescents: There has been a 1% annual decrease in invasive cancer incidence in children (aged 1-14 years) from 2015 to 2019, while thyroid cancer rates in adolescents (aged 15-19 years) have increased.
Need for Further Understanding: The article emphasizes the importance of understanding the reasons behind the increase in incidence rates in young adults, as they represent a significant portion of cancer cases and may impact the progress made in reducing cancer mortality.