The Racial Inequality in Cancer Deaths

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Still, the cancer death rate dropped by about 1.5 percent each year in men and women.

More than 2.3 million people have not died of cancer since 1991 who otherwise would have if cancer rates had remained unchanged, the group said in its annual report on cancer.

The most common cancers to be diagnosed in men are prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers, which account for 42 percent of all cases, with prostate cancer alone accounting for nearly 1 in 5 new diagnoses. Still, it's better than it's been in the past.

As a whole, the new ACS report highlights that more can be done to prevent cancer in the first place, for instance by further reducing smoking, which still accounts for almost three out of every ten cancer deaths.

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Breast cancer deaths dropped by 39 percent from 1990 to 2015 among women, thanks largely to improved detection. The four major types of cancer all saw significant decreases in the past few decades.

For women, breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed form, accounting for 30 percent of all new cancer cases.

Some of the factors that contribute to this decline have been the reduction in smoking and early cancer screenings.

Liver cancer incidence continued to rise in women and appeared to plateau in men.

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Among men, prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers account for 42 percent of cases.

The racial gap was substantially larger for people under age 65 (31%) than those 65 and older (7%), probably due in part to Medicare coverage. Cancer mortality was lower for blacks than whites in MA among all ages and in NY among those 65 and older, but higher in the District of Columbia, Wisconsin, Kansas, Louisiana, Illinois, and California.

While the new report also finds that death rates were not statistically significantly different between whites and blacks in 13 states, a lack of racial disparity is not always indicative of progress.

The overall estimate of 1,735,350 cases for 2018 equals more than 4,700 new cancer diagnoses each day.

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The authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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