Report: Cancer Deaths and Lung Cancer Deaths Down Over 20-Year Period

Stethoscope on top of medical files

Cancer-related deaths continually decreased over the past 20 years, the American Cancer Society reported in a study released this week. The study estimates that more than 1 million cancer deaths were avoided. Deaths related to lung cancer, which account for the majority of cancer deaths, have also continued to decline during this period.

The report, titled “Cancer Statistics, 2012,” gives insight into how cancer rates affect the entire U.S. population while also highlighting varying disparities among different groups in the United States.

Declining rates provide hope for advocates of cancer prevention, while also demonstrating areas where improvement is possible.

Results of the Report

The annual report consists of a variety of estimates of cancer rates and is noted for being among the most commonly used statistics in the world. According to the study, approximately 1,638,910 new cases of cancer and 577,190 cancer deaths are expected in 2012. Of these new cancer cases, about 226,160 are new cases of lung & bronchus cancer, with over 160,340 deaths from this disease.

Between 1990 and 2008, overall death rates decreased by 23 percent in men and 15 percent in women.

However, there was an increase among cancer deaths for pancreas, liver, thyroid and kidney cancer. The report also documented the disparity among cancer rates of various ethnic groups and provided varying degrees of positive and negative results.

African-American males have a 33 percent higher death rate than white males and a 15 percent higher rate of new cancer cases for all cancers combined.

African-American women showed a 16-percent higher death rate when compared to white women yet had a 6 percent lower rate of new cancer cases. The incidence rates for lung cancer cases among African-Americans are also higher than all other groups.

However, over the past 10 years, African-American men demonstrated the fastest decline in death rates, falling 2.4 percent per year.

Estimates within the report show that approximately 33 percent of all cancer deaths in 2012 will be caused by tobacco use, highlighting a segment where prevention is possible for future cancer cases. Similarly, another one-third of all cancer deaths will involve obesity, overweight-related issues, inadequate nutrition or physical inactivity, another portion of the population where opportunity exists for improvement through healthier dietary habits.

The American Cancer Society advocates for the use of current knowledge and resources to point out how cancer prevention among lower socio-economic groups is possible and how it can affect future cancer projections.

Rare diseases such as mesothelioma were not listed in the report. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the lining of the lung that is caused by asbestos exposure. It affects between 2,000 and 3,000 people per year. Lung cancer has also been connected with similar exposure and accounts for hundreds of thousands of cases per year.

Promoting Prevention & Cure of Cancer

The American Cancer Society’s report is a part of the organization’s continued efforts to promote cancer awareness, find cures and prevent cancer among all groups. Data is gathered based on recent cancer incidences, survival and mortality reports. Information is compiled from other organizations including the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, in addition to the National Center for Health Statistics.

In the United States, one in four deaths can be attributed to cancer. The implications of the report’s projections have wide-reaching affects on all Americans. As it is likely that you know someone who has been affected by cancer, the study also provides a deeper look into how cancer affects ethnic, regional or age groups that you and your family belong to. Analyzing the report and the statistics documented within it can provide you with insight into how to prevent some forms of cancer by mitigating any and all risk factors.


Mark Hall joined the Mesothelioma Center as a writer in 2011. Prior to joining the content team, Mark graduated from the University of Florida and then spent several years writing about business, entrepreneurship and technology for various online publications.

Related News Posts

Discover Our Free Resources & Services

Learn What We Offer

Social Media

Top Authors

View our resources for patients and families

Get Help Today
Get Your Free Mesothelioma Guide