December 31, 2014

Cancer deaths down 22 percent in past two decades

Health Day Reporter - Progress in the war against cancer has triggered a 22 percent drop in U.S. deaths over the past two decades, translating to about 1.5 million lives saved, a new American Cancer Society report finds.

Even so, the annual report also predict that within a few years, cancer will overtake heart disease as the leading killer of Americans.

That's because "the decrease in mortality rates from heart diseasehas been much larger than the decrease in mortality from cancer," said Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, the cancer society's vice president of surveillance and health services research.

"Cancer is a collection of maybe 200 diseases," he explained. "It's not like heart disease, where you have maybe some variation but it is a single entity compared to cancer."

In 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available, heart disease claimed the lives of more than 308,000 men and 288,000 women in the United States, while cancer killed more than 302,000 men and 274,000 women.

The cancer report estimates there will be more than 1,658,000 new cancer cases and over 589,000 cancer deaths in the United States in 2015 -- about 1,600 cancer-related deaths a day.

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