Largest single-year drop in cancer deaths reported

American Cancer Society shares report, largest single-drop in cancer deaths

There was good news in the American Cancer Society’s annual report on cancer rates and trends released Wednesday.

The cancer death rate declined by 29 percent from 1991 to 2017. There was a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, which is the the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported, according to the American Cancer Society.

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The reduction in lung cancer deaths spurred the record-breaking drop, according to the report. “The accelerated drops in lung cancer mortality as well as in melanoma that we’re seeing are likely due at least in part to advances in cancer treatment over the past decade, such as immunotherapy,” said Dr. William G. Cance, chief medical and scientific officer for the American Cancer Society.

In another positive trend, for the first time ever, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer reached 10 percent. Reaching that double-digit survival rate has long been a goal for those in the pancreatic cancer community. In the past year, “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) have been diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer, raising public awareness of one of the deadliest cancers.

A lab tech handles a CliniMACS Prodigy automated device used for cell processing at a production laboratory unit of the Paoli-Calmettes Institute (IPC) in Marseille, southeastern France.
A lab tech handles a CliniMACS Prodigy automated device used for cell processing at a production laboratory unit of the Paoli-Calmettes Institute (IPC) in Marseille, southeastern France. (GERARD JULIEN/AFP via Getty Images)