A new study finds that, lthough the death toll from cancer hasn’t shrunk by as much in recent decades as that of diseases such as heart disease, significant progress has been made.
The problem in tabulating the full extent of recent gains against cancer is that efforts to beat back other diseases have also been successful, the researchers said.
“As fewer and fewer people die from heart disease, stroke and accidents, more and more people are alive long enough to be at risk of developing and dying from cancer,” study principal investigator Samir Soneji, an assistant professor at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, said in a statement provided by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
For example, the study found that deaths from heart disease declined by 62 percent between 1970 and 2008. During the same period, deaths from accidents fell by more than a third.
Deaths from cancer, however, dipped by only 12 percent, the researchers said.
During their research, Soneji’s team accounted intended for progress against cancer inside context of people keeping away from other illnesses or accidents and living longer. Cancers risk increases with advancing age, making it more probable that today’s longer-lived People in america will someday develop the ailment, the researchers said.
“We estimate how the years of life lost from cancer are directly affected by cancer mortality and indirectly affected by increased cancer incidence because of greater longevity due to improvements in primary prevention, detection and treatment of other diseases,” Soneji said.
In this context, the researchers found signs of significant progress in cutting cancer death rates.
For example, lung cancer deaths dropped dramatically between 1985 and 2005, mainly due to people quitting smoking, Soneji said. But the decline in these deaths wasn’t as great as it could have been because more people were avoiding death from other causes — and living long enough to develop lung cancer.
Overall progress in limiting deaths from colon, prostate and breast cancers has also been seen, the researchers said.
“Our approach reveals more accurately the aggregate contribution of cancer prevention, screening and treatment on progress against cancer,” Soneji said.
The study was published Jan. 13 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Source: HealthDay News