Health Day Reporter
THURSDAY, Jan. 12, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Cancer death rates continue to decline, dropping 33 percent since 1991 and saving an estimated 3.8 million lives, according to the American Cancer Society’s annual statistics report.
But individual trends within the overall success story highlight the struggle to find the best ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer for all Americans, the association said.
On the positive side, the rate of cervical cancer among women aged 20 to 24 in the US fell by an “astonishing” 65 percent between 2012 and 2019, a direct result of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, Dr William said. Results Dahut, chief scientific officer at the American Cancer Society (ACS).
“The effort that our kids have made over the last 20 years or so to get vaccinated has actually saved lives,” Dahut said, noting that the plummeting case levels “happened entirely after the time when the HPV vaccine was produced.”
Chief executive Karen Knudsen added: “This is the first real-world evidence that HPV vaccination may be effective in reducing cancer incidence and [death rates]”
Unfortunately, rates of advanced prostate cancer are on the rise, likely due to confusion and conflicting screening guidelines, ACS officials said.
Cases of prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in U.S. men, rose 3 percent annually from 2014 to 2019 after two decades of decline, the report found.
Men with advanced prostate cancer also saw a 5 percent year-over-year increase in diagnoses, Knudsen said, “so we’re not catching these cancers earlier when we have the opportunity to cure men.”
Black men are particularly affected by rising rates of prostate cancer, the report said.
“Unfortunately, black men have a 70 percent increase in prostate cancer rates compared to white men, and two to four times the incidence of prostate cancer [death rates] related to any other ethnic group in the United States,” Knudsen said.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the leading authority on health screening in the United States, recommends that men ages 55 to 69 discuss the potential benefits and harms of prostate cancer screening with their doctors before deciding for themselves.
American Cancer Society guidelines recommend that doctors discuss screening with men at an earlier age — at 40 for a close relative with prostate cancer, 45 for high-risk men, and 50 for nearly everyone else.
The concern is that the screening tool — the blood-based PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test — could be influenced by factors other than prostate cancer, Knudsen said. For example, inflammation of the prostate can lead to elevated PSA.
Men who undergo surgery or radiation therapy for prostate cancer may end up with lifelong side effects such as impotence or urinary incontinence. Because of this, screening guidelines tend to be conservative.
But the science surrounding prostate cancer detection has advanced in recent years, Dahut said.
Doctors can now put together a genetic profile that reveals an increased risk in certain men. For example, the BRCA2 gene, commonly associated with breast cancer, “predisposes people to more aggressive prostate cancer,” Dahut said.
Imaging tools have also been improved.
“MRI imaging of the prostate has really dramatically changed the way we actually determine whether prostate cancer is likely to exist and how to proceed with a biopsy,” Dahut said. “And there may be some way to do relatively fast MRIs. They’re actually doing that now in the UK.”
Combining family history, genetic risk factors and MRI results can help doctors rule out underlying prostate cancer in cases where PSA levels are elevated for other reasons, Dahut said.
“This is not the 1990s, when an elevated PSA would trigger a potentially premature prostate removal strategy,” she said. “As a field, we’ve gone way beyond that.”
In response to these prostate cancer trends, ACS has launched the IMPACT program – Together to Improve Prostate Cancer Mortality.
It aims to reverse the disparity in prostate cancer among black men and reduce overall mortality by 2035, Knudsen said.
IMPACT will include new research projects, improved education efforts and a rethink of prostate cancer screening guidelines, she explained.
“With prostate cancer still the second leading cause of cancer death and a shift toward diagnosing more aggressive diseases, we can no longer stand by and inaction,” Knudsen said.
The 2023 Cancer Statistics report contained other good news, including that the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer hit an all-time high of 12 percent, up 1 percentage point from the previous year.
In a statement, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network noted that this is the first time since 2017 that pancreatic cancer survival rates have increased for two consecutive years.
Pancreatic cancer has no standard early detection method and often has only vague symptoms. It is usually diagnosed very late, once the disease has spread.
“For a disease as difficult as pancreatic cancer, an annual increase of one percentage point is an important and encouraging milestone, showing that we are headed in the right direction and that our comprehensive approach is working,” said the company’s president and chief executive officer. Officer Julie Fleshman said. The internet. “But 12% is still the lowest five-year survival rate of any major cancer, so we need to build on this momentum by continuing to fund research to find early detection strategies and better treatment options for patients with pancreatic cancer.”
The findings were published online Jan. 12 in CA: Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
The American Cancer Society has more facts and statistics about cancer.
SOURCES: William Dahut, MD, Chief Scientific Officer, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; Karen Knudsen, MBA, PhD, CEO, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; President and CEO, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, El Segundo, CA Officer Julie Fleshman, MBA, JD; CA: Cancer Journal for CliniciansOnline, January 12, 2023