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Saturday, December 2, 2023

America’s Miracle: How This Nation Managed to Cut Cancer Deaths by a Third


United States yes Considerable progress has been made in the fight against cancer, with deaths from the disease falling by 33% since 1991.Since then, 3.8 million cancer deaths have been averted, according to a new analysis by the American Cancer Society (ACS). People also live longer with cancer. The 5-year survival rate for all types of cancer diagnosed between 2012 and 2018 has increased from 49% in the mid-1970s to 68%.

Report confirms old adage An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In recent decades, many types of cancer have been detected early or completely prevented. Thanks to a combination of screening, lifestyle changes (mainly reducing smoking) and vaccinations.

The most impressive statistics in the report demonstrate the power of prevention: Cervical cancer rates for women in their 20s fell 65% between 2012 and 2019. Not coincidentally, these women were among the first to be eligible for vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV), the leading cause of cervical cancer. A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the vaccine also helped reduce rates of HPV infection in unvaccinated women, suggesting that the United States is experiencing a herd immunity effect.

A group of schoolchildren in San Diego were vaccinated against HPV (human papilloma).Photo: Agency One

Cancer treatment is also improving. Therapies such as Merck’s Keytruda and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo, It blocks proteins that cancer cells use to hide from immune cells, Cancer has a profound impact on the lives of people with skin and lung cancers.

The ACS report shows that in less than a decade, These drugs nearly doubled the three-year survival rate for metastatic melanoma, This increased from 20.6% of patients diagnosed in 2004-2006 to 39.3% of patients diagnosed in 2016-2018. Over the same period, three-year lung cancer survival rates have improved with earlier detection and advances in drugs and surgery. 22% to 33%.

There is reason to be optimistic that these amazing advances will get even better. An experimental mRNA cancer vaccine, when combined with Keytruda, can further increase the number of melanomas that can spread to other cancers, according to a recent study.

This is incredible progress. But there is clearly a lot of room for improvement.

Consider cervical cancer. The rates of cervical cancer in the states with the fewest available resources (Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Alabama) were twice as high as those in the states with the best preventive care (Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine). times. These disparities may be exacerbated by state-to-state differences in HPV vaccine coverage over time, the ACS report noted.

During the three years of the plague, Many children do not receive routine vaccinations, including HPV. As I mentioned before, a coordinated public health campaign is needed to get teens back on track with HPV vaccination. This huge advance in the fight against cervical cancer, which could also reduce the incidence of other types of cancer, is too important to miss.

Prostate Cancer Incidence They also offer an unfortunate lesson in what can happen when prevention is not enough. From 2014 to 2019, prostate cancer cases increased by 3% per year, reversing the decline in the disease’s incidence over the past 20 years. This resulted in approximately 100,000+ cases, approximately half of which were advances, ACS said.

The reversal appears to be related to a change in recommendations about who should get a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. has been widely used, In 2012, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against PSA testing for all men. Because of concerns about overdiagnosis and unnecessary procedures.

prostate cancer

ACS recognizes the need for a better balance between screening and highly invasive testing to detect cases that may lead to more severe disease. That could mean integrating other types of testing into high-risk groups, such as black men, who are at a much higher risk of dying from prostate cancer than other groups.

Cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the United States, but the American Cancer Society report is a reminder that while progress in public health often seems slow, the returns keep coming. Addressing disparities in cancer prevention and care will make us all the more celebrated in the years to come.


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