A new report from the American Cancer Society has showed that over 1.5 million people in the United States avoided cancer deaths since 1991 due to a significant decline in smoking rates as well as advancement in the cancer treatments, detection and prevention.
The overall death rate from cancer declined from about 215 per 100,000 people in 1991 to nearly 169 per 100,000 people in 2011, the study found.
Study researcher Rebecca Siegel said, “Further reductions in cancer death rates can be accelerated by applying existing cancer control knowledge across all segments of the population, with an emphasis on those in the lowest socioeconomic bracket and other disadvantaged populations.”
For the new study, the researchers compiled data collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Health Statistics.
The researchers found that the cases of cancer declined by 1.8 percent among men, but continued steady among women during the most recent years from 2007 to 2011.
For those years, the cancer deaths also dropped by 1.8 percent among men and declined by 1.4 percent among women.
Even if the overall rate of death from cancer declined over the past two decades, the study showed that not all Americans benefited equally. The drop in deaths varied from state to state.
“The large geographic variation in cancer death rates and trends reflects differences in risk factor patterns, such as smoking and obesity, as well as disparities in the national distribution of poverty and access to health care, which have increased over time,” the researchers wrote in the report.
The study’s findings were published in the journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.