U.S. Cancer Deaths Up in 2005

Cancer 101: Cancer Explained

5,424 More People Died of Cancer in 2005 Than in 2004, but Cancer Death Rate Far Lower Than in 1990

By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Health News

Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD

Feb. 20, 2008 -- New cancer statistics show a rise in cancer deaths in 2005 and an overall drop in the cancer death rate since 1990.

In 2005, a total of 559,312 people in the U.S died of cancer. That's 5,424 more people than in 2004, according to the American Cancer Society.

But the American Cancer Society also notes that the big picture shows that the cancer death rate declined by about 18% for men and 10% for women between the early 1990s and 2004.

"The increase in the number of cancer deaths in 2005 after two years of historic declines should not obscure the fact that cancer death rates continue to drop, reflecting the enormous progress that has been made against cancer during the past 15 years," John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, says in a news release.

Seffrin notes that although the decline in the cancer death rate slowed in 2005, "the fact remains that cancer mortality rates continue to drop, and they're doing so at a rate fast enough that over half a million deaths from cancer were averted between 1990/1991 and 2004."

The new cancer statistics appear in the American Cancer Society's report "Cancer Facts & Figures 2008" and in the March/April edition of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Men's Leading Cancers

For men, the top three causes of cancer death are:

Not counting nonmelanoma skin cancer, men's most common new cancer cases are:

  • Prostate cancer: 186,320 new cases predicted for 2008
  • Lung cancer: 114,690 new cases predicted for 2008
  • Colorectal cancer: 77,250 new cases predicted for 2008

Women's Leading Cancers

The top causes of cancer death for women are:

  • Lung cancer: 71,030 deaths expected in 2008
  • Breast cancer: 40,480 deaths predicted in 2008
  • Colorectal cancer: 25,700 deaths predicted in 2008

Not counting nonmelanoma skin cancer, women's most common new cancer cases are:

  • Breast cancer: 182,460 new cases predicted in 2008
  • Lung cancer: 100,330 new cases predicted in 2008
  • Colorectal cancer: 71,560 new cases predicted in 2008

Racial Gaps in Cancer

Cancer continues to take a heavier toll on African-Americans than whites, the report shows.

"African Americans are more likely to develop and die from cancer than any other racial or ethnic group," states the report. "The death rate for cancer among African American males is about 37% higher than among white males; for African American females, it is about 17% higher."

Most cancers are less common among Hispanics, Asian-Americans, and Pacific Islanders than among whites. But there are exceptions.

Compared with whites, Hispanics have higher rates of cervical, liver, and stomach cancer. Liver and stomach cancers are more common among Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders than any other racial or ethnic group.

American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest rate of kidney cancer cases and deaths from kidney cancer, the report also shows.

Regardless of a person's background, the American Cancer Society stresses the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle to lower cancer risk and following guidelines for cancer screening.

SOURCES: American Cancer Society: "Cancer Facts & Figures 2008." Jemal, A. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, March/April 2008; vol 58: pp 71-96. News release, American Cancer Society.

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