Winning the War on Cancer
Reasons for Optimism in the Fight Against Cancer
America is making progress in the war on cancer. And it can’t come fast enough.
The CDC reports that cancer is the second-leading cause of death for Americans, trailing only heart disease.i
The good news: Cancer mortality in the United States is dropping.
Lung cancer death rates fell 58% for men from 1990 to 2020, and 36% for women from 2002 to 2020.ii
Colon cancer mortality rates have fallen 55% for men since 1980 and 61% for women since 1969.iii
Improvements in detection and treatment have caused breast cancer death rates to drop 43% since 1989.iv
Survival rates are now at 94% for melanoma, 97% for prostate cancer, and 98% for thyroid cancer.v
Here’s how far we’ve come: In 1970, the number of people who were still alive five years after a cancer diagnosis was 49%. By 2018, it was 68%.vi
Survival rates for childhood cancer have risen from 58% to 85% in that same period.vii
All told, the cancer death rate fell 33% from 1991 to 2020. Had it stayed the same, about 3.8 million more people would have died of the disease.viii
The even better news: Researchers estimate that, if current trends continue, cancer death rates will decline another 44% in the next 25 years.ix
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Cancer mortality has dropped for breast, colon, lung, and other common cancers.
- The five-year survival rate for all cancers rose from 49% in 1970 to 68% by 2018.
- The cancer death rate fell 33% from 1991 to 2020, the equivalent of 3.8 million lives saved.
- Leading Causes of Death — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- "Cancer Statistics, 2023" (Rebecca L. Siegel, et al.) — CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians
- NCI Study Outlines Opportunities To Achieve President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Goal of Reducing Cancer Death Rates in the United States — National Cancer Institute
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Leading Causes of Death
- CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians
"Cancer Statistics, 2023" (Rebecca L. Siegel, et al.)
- National Cancer Institute
NCI Study Outlines Opportunities To Achieve President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Goal of Reducing Cancer Death Rates in the United States