The death rate from cancer in the U.S. dropped 2.4% from 2017 to 2018, the biggest single-year decline on record and a sign of the impact of new treatments on lung cancer especially, the American Cancer Society said.
It was the second year in a row with a record-setting drop, and the progress continues gains that have been made for more than a quarter-century, the cancer society said in a report published Tuesday. The researchers analyzed cancer mortality data from 1930 to 2018, before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Overall, the cancer mortality rate has fallen 31% since its peak in 1991, according to the report, which was published online in the journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The latest decline left the mortality rate at 149 deaths for every 100,000 people in the general population in 2018, according to the American Cancer Society.
“To see these continuing record declines in cancer mortality is very encouraging,” said Rebecca Siegel, senior scientific director of surveillance research at the American Cancer Society and lead author of its new report.
Despite the gains, cancer remains one of the country’s biggest killers: the second leading cause of deaths in the U.S., after heart disease. In 2018, it was responsible for more than 599,000 deaths, the report said.