Correction: Cancer Death Rates Fall Further: Incidence Declines for Men and Remains Steady for Women

Better News: Cancer death rates dropped 25 percent from its 1991 peak of 215.1 (per 100,000 population)to 161.2 in 2014.



Yesterday, I erroneously reported falling death and cancer incidence rates from Cancer Statistics 2016, not the new report Cancer Statistics 2017. Obviously, I am embarrassed by this mistake, but I am happy to report that the good news is that the positive trends continue.

The overall cancer death rate dropped 25 percent from 1991, translating to approximately 2,143,200 fewer cancer deaths than would have been expected if death rates had remained at their peak, according to the latest Cancer Statistics 2017 report from the American Cancer Society. Over the past decade of available data, the overall cancer incidence rate (2004-2013) was stable in women and declined by approximately 2% annually in men, while the cancer death rate (2005-2014) declined by about 1.5% annually in both men and women.

The falling incidence trend for men reflects large continuing declines for cancers of the lung and colorectum, in addition to a sharp reduction in prostate cancer incidence of more than 10% annually from 2010 to 2013. The drop in lung and colorectal cancer is largely due to less smoking and more colonoscopies. The reduction in prostate cancer diagnosis is largely the result new guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force against routine screening with the PSA test because of growing concerns about high rates of overdiagnosis. It is worth noting that that contrary to the USPST's blanket recommendation, the American Cancer Society urges men to talk with their physicians about the risks and benefits and decide for themselves whether they want the screening test.


The report further notes:

The lifetime probability of being diagnosed with invasive cancer is slightly higher for men (40.8%) than for women (37.5%). Reasons for the increased susceptibility in men are not well understood, but to some extent reflect differences in environmental exposures, endogenous hormones, and probably complex interactions between these influences. Adult height, which is determined by genetics and childhood nutrition, is positively associated with cancer incidence and death in both men and women, and has been estimated to account for one-third of the gender disparity in cancer risk.

The fact that lifetime probability of cancer for both men and women has fallen slightly from those estimates in the 2016 report is more good news. Being male and standing at 6 feet 5 inches, I'm at higher risk, but the mortality trends give me some scope for optimism. After all, at a conference in 2015, Dr. D. Gary Gilliland, president and director of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, declared, "It's actually plausible that in 10 years we'll have curative therapies for most if not all human cancers."

With regard to mortality trends, the ACS reports:

The decline in cancer mortality over the past 2 decades is the result of steady reductions in smoking and advances in early detection and treatment, reflected in considerable decreases for the 4 major cancers (lung, breast, prostate, and colorectum). Specifically, the death rate dropped 38% from 1989 to 2014 for female breast cancer, 51% from 1993 to 2014 for prostate cancer, and 51% from 1976 to 2014 for colorectal cancer. Lung cancer death rates declined 43% from 1990 to 2014 among males and 17% from 2002 to 2014 among females due to reduced tobacco use ….


It is still the case that there is no rising cancer epidemic; much less one that can be attributed to modern technologies like cell phones, genetically modified crops and trace exposures to synthetic chemicals.

Again, I regret the error and I hope that readers were not unduly confused by it.

NEXT: Government Must Stop Protecting Cow Milk Producers from Competition

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  1. The lifetime probability of being diagnosed with invasive cancer is slightly higher for men (40.8%) than for women (37.5%).

    When are we going to get equality for women? The patriarchy strikes again!

    1. The real question is whether or not Trump is going to take credit for it.

  2. More proof of the patriarchy.

  3. Choose your own adventure: news edition.

    From the derptastic NYT comments, here’s a proto-Chavista inviting an interim dictatorship. Rule of law, how does it work?

    jkj Pennsylvania RESIST all Republican’ts no matter what

    Overturn the election and results immediately no matter what!

    Since true and a stolen election, worse than war criminal Bushie stolen election in 2001; thee ONLY solution is first, President Obama declares the election invalid and corrupt, next stays on till all the truth comes out however many years it may take (the deplorables and unAmerican Republican’ts won’t like it but who cares as they don’t understand anything past their face anyway), next Trumpet NOT allowed to take the presidency or the inauguration no matter what January 20, also other seats for example here in PA, where McGinty takes the seat NOT corporate lackey unAmerican Toomey since the rest of the race corrupted too (this will change makeup of Congress dramatically toward Dems both Houses and State races too) and not to corporate lackey unAmericans Republican’ts, next get rid of all Diebold machines and go back to paper ballots only, AND save the best for last: President Hillary Clinton to save the nation, the earth and Democracy. No other choice! Otherwise total destruction and dictatorship and oligarchy.

    Overturn election immediately.

    1. Otherwise total destruction and dictatorship and oligarchy

      uuhhhhhh, I think there’s a problem with your scheme.

    2. “next get rid of all Diebold machines and go back to paper ballots only”

      I’m actually in favor of this. It seems, though, that election fraud only becomes an issue when the democrats lose. Why is that?

      1. Probably because you have reversed the cause and effect?

        But more seriously, this election fraud business was true before the Democrat lost this time. Only it was the Republican that was sure of it

    3. “If we don’t forcibly seize power completely there will be tyranny!”

      *makes note, checks ammo*

      Got it.

    4. Oh my gosh those comments. Someone should cull them and write a book.

      Holy garlic and rosemary potatoes are the cultists at the NYT that easy to fool and rile up or right?

      They bought the Russian hacking bit and are demanding a revote.

      What. A. Bunch. Of. Losers.

    5. Who wrote that blurb above? It’s poorly written. All he had to say, ‘give us our dictatorship for the people NOW!’

      1. It’s jarring to see the illiteracy rampant at other sites.

        1. Not that I’d expect self-awareness, but you’d think that they come maybe take a minute a realize that the long run-on sentences sprinkled with repeated derogatory buzzwords like “corporate” and “unAmerican” complete with RANDOMLY capitalized words to STRESS your POINT make them come off like the internet version of the mad street preacher with the “END IS NIGH” sandwich board.

      2. Herc?

    6. Sounds like my older brother.

      And it’s ’til.


    7. President Obama declares the election invalid and corrupt, next stays on till all the truth comes out however many years it may take . . . .

      Otherwise total destruction and dictatorship and oligarchy.

      Umm . . . .

  4. Wait, cancer rates are *falling*?

    The Koch Brothers had better up their game!

    1. Mitt Romney can’t do it all by himself!

  5. Holy cow, I thought YOU guys were morbid. Couldn’t find Charles Manson or Tilikumon the list, though.

    1. * need a space before “on”

    2. This has been an ongoing thing for a really long time now.

  6. I feel I was unduly confused. I am indignant and outraged at the Bailey. Why Bailey, why? Perhaps you are not so perfect after all.

  7. It appears that in the past 25 years, liver cancer mortality has doubled (up 100%) for males. Maybe more.

  8. “And the Bailey said, I will destroy the last article which I have created from the face of the web site; both data, and results, and the methods, and the conclusions; for it repenteth me that I have written it.”

  9. Happy weekend, Ron.

    I’m going to try to work ‘Uterine corpus’ into conversation. When asked (probably something along the lines of “What the %$#@! is wrong with you?”), I’m just going to enigmatically respond that I read Ron Bailey.

  10. “Incidence Declines for Men and Remains Steady for Women.”

    Cancer is sexist.

  11. An interesting question this raises, why is skin cancer on the rise? People are far more conscious of so-called “sun safety” than ever before. If everyone’s wearing SPF 55, why is melanoma becoming more common?

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