Cancer death rates fall but melanoma on the riseJanuary 18th, 2012 | Posted by in Cancer | Illness | Prevention | Skin Cancer | Teen
According to a study released by the American Cancer Society in early January, the number of cancer deaths and cancer causes is dropping all across the United States.
The study found cancer death rates have declined in both male and females and among all racial and ethnic groups with the exception of American Indians and Alaskan Natives. African American and Latino men experienced the largest drop in cancer deaths among the population yet black males still have a 15% higher cancer incidence and 33% higher death rate compared with white men. Further, the study revealed that black women have a 6% lower cancer incidence rate compared with white women but have a 16% higher death rate.
Cases of death from lung cancer dropped the most for men while breast cancer deaths in women saw the sharpest decline. Yet, not all findings of the study are so rosy. Pancreas, liver, thyroid and kidney cancers (tumors) are on the rise well as melanoma of the skin. The preponderance of obesity in the U.S. may be a contributing factor to the rise of pancreatic, liver, thyroid and kidney tumors while continued increases in cigarette taxes and educational programs might be leading to more people quitting smoking and thus lowering the number of lung cancer cases.
Another interesting fact from the study is that while overall cancer cases are going down, there has been a rise in cases among teens and young adults. This demographic, aged 15-to-39 accounts for more than 72,000 new cancers every year — seven times more than pediatric cancers.
Mathew Zachary, brain cancer survivor and founder of the “Stupid Cancer” support organization said, “Young adults don’t get cancers that are easily screened. They get Hodgkin’s, they get sarcomas — usually not detectable cancers. It’s not going to the doctor and say, ‘Screen me for Hodgkin’s,’ because there is no such test. By the time you realize what you have symptomatically, it’s probably too late or Stage 4.”
In this age group, there are also numerous cases that are misdiagnosed. Thus, researchers are now starting to shift their efforts and focus on the unique needs of this group. Until just recently, everything has been lumped together with all non-pediatric cancers which can become problematic.
In 2012, the cancer society projects 1,638,910 cancer cases will be diagnosed and 577,190 Americans will die of the disease.