The overall cancer mortality rate in the United States continues to decline again as compared to last year’s reported statistics. Using the recently published American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics for 2021 report, the overall U.S. cancer mortality rate has now decreased 31% between 1991 and 2018. This means an estimated 3.2 million lives were saved from cancer deaths in that time period. This is inclusive of the historic 2.4% decline in cancer mortality rates that we saw between 2017 and 2018.
It is reported that this continual decline can be attributed to earlier detection and improved treatment options for certain cancers including lung cancer. However, the report also shows persistent health disparities across race/ethnicity, sex, and geography. For example, the 5-year overall survival rate is higher among White patients (68%) versus Black patients (63%) across all cancer types except one. Geographic location also seems to be a barrier for cancer patients who have lung cancer versus other types of cancer.