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Improvement in Cancer Treatment Leads to Decline in Cancer Deaths


Posted on Feb 04, 2013

Last year, nearly 580,000 Americans died of cancer. While this number represents far too many lives, there is some good news. According to statistics from the American Cancer Society, more people are surviving cancer. The death rate for cancer in the U.S. has dropped by more than 20 percent in the past 20 years; 24 percent for men and 16 percent for women.

These numbers come from a recent American Cancer Society report based on data compiled by the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.

The American Cancer Society says that, thanks to early detection and better cancer treatments, death rates have fallen for some of the most common cancers, including breast, prostate cancers, and colon cancers. In addition, there are fewer cases of lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death, because fewer people are smoking.

In 1991, cancer death rates peaked at 215.1 deaths per 100,000 in the population. The 2009 death rate was 173.1 per 100,000. Over a 20-year span, that is a prevention of 1.18 million cancer deaths.

However, there still are reasons for concern. Melanoma and cancers of the liver, thyroid, uterus, and pancreas are increasing. Approximately 1.7 million Americans will be diagnosed with new cases of cancer in 2013. Nearly 600,000 will die. Only cardiovascular disease will kill more Americans.

Many cancer deaths occur because a significant number of Americans lack access to high-quality cancer prevention and treatment services. Without routine screening, cancer may not be diagnosed until it is too late. Even diagnosed cancer victims may not be able to receive the treatment they need to get well. Patients who no longer can work may lose their health benefits. Even those who receive cancer disability benefits such as SSI and SSDI must wait two years to receive health benefits through the Medicare program.

In the meantime, health benefits may be available through state Medicaid programs. Ask your disability benefits attorney for more information.

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