Declines In Cancer Deaths Not All Good News

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A new study shows some improvement in cancer death rates. Improvements in cancer screening and better treatments have resulted in the steady decline over the past three decades according to U.S. researchers.

The scientists note that younger adults between ages 35 and 45 years old experienced the steepest declines in cancer death rates. They noted that all age groups showed some improvement. The findings of the study appear in the journal Cancer Research.

The news has both positive and negative implications some experts note. Surviving cancer often results in an enormous financial toll on both the survivor and their family. According to the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance the industry trade group, uncovered medical costs are a leading cause of personal bankruptcies in the United States.

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While U.S. government estimates suggest there had been little improvement in cancer death rates throughout the 20th century, scientists noted the government reports did not tell the whole story. Researchers used a different way of looking at cancer death rates that measured improvements in cancer deaths by age.

By comparison, government data tends to average all age groups together to produce a composite rate.

Because most cancer deaths occur in older Americans, the average was weighted toward experiences of older people. Instead, the researchers looked at improvements in cancer deaths among groups of individuals born in five-year intervals starting in 1925.

Using this methodology, they found that everyone born since the 1930s has enjoyed a decreased risk of cancer death, at every age. People in the youngest age group (between 35 and 45) had a greater than 25 percent decline per decade in cancer deaths.

Written by Jesse Slome from the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance

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