Sep 22, 2022 - Health

Cancer deaths fall with new treatments and better screening

Illustration of a caduceus with uneven wings

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The decline in cancer deaths has accelerated in recent years, reaching a 2.3% annual drop every year between 2016 and 2019, according to the latest American Association for Cancer Research Cancer Progress report.

Why it matters: Cancer continues to be the second leading cause of death in the U.S. and it's estimated that more than 600,000 people in the U.S. will die from cancer in 2022 — but this report shows where gains are being made against the disease.

  • Officials say improved treatments, diagnostics and screening are making a difference.

By the numbers: There are more than 18 million cancer survivors in the U.S., about 5.4% of the population, up from 3 million, or 1.4% of the population, in 1971.

  • The FDA approved eight new cancer drugs and expanded the uses of 10 cancer drugs between Aug. 1, 2021, and July 31, 2022. It also approved two new diagnostic imaging agents in that time.

Yes, but: The report found disparities in care and outcomes are undermining many of the gains.

  • It's also costly: Care for the 15 most prevalent cancers added up to $156.2 billion for privately insured patients under 65 in the U.S. in 2018.
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