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06 January 2018, 12:38 | Nellie George
Jessica Tezak The Evansville Courier & Press via AP
Cancer remains the number two cause of death in America, where it continues to cause more than 600,000 deaths annually.
"This new report reiterates where cancer control efforts have worked, particularly the impact of tobacco control", said Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.
It takes more than a year to collate death certificates and analyze the data on cancer deaths. "A decline in consumption of cigarettes is credited with being the most important factor in the drop in cancer death rates".
The report forecasts about 1.7 million new cancer cases and 609,640 cancer deaths in the United States in 2018.
Cancer deaths numbered 595,930 in 2015, with lung, prostate, and colorectal cancers in men and lung, breast, and colorectal cancers in women accounting for 45% of cancer mortality. Although African-American women develop breast cancer at similar or slightly lower rates, they are more likely to die from the disease compared with white women, according to the American Cancer Society's facts and figures on African Americans and cancer.
Women have a 37.6 percent percent chance of ever being diagnosed with cancer. The decline follows a trend that began in 1991, resulting in almost 2.4 million fewer cancer deaths in the years since.
Among cancer patients and survivors who used paid leave, 80 percent said it helped with finishing treatment, 70 percent said they coped better with symptoms and side effects and 64 percent reported being able to afford treatments, according to an ACS CAN release.
In women, 14 percent of deaths are from breast cancer, 7 percent from pancreatic cancer, and 5 percent from cancer of the ovaries.
Though the racial gap in cancer deaths continues to narrow as well, this mainly reflects progress for older age groups, which masks "stark persistent inequalities for young and middle-aged black Americans", the report says.
Cancer also continues to affect men and women differently. Cancer death rates were not statistically different by race in Kentucky and West Virginia, for example, but were the highest of all states for whites.
"The decline in cancer mortality over the past two decades is primarily the result of steady reductions in smoking and advances in early detection and treatment", the report reads.
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