US Cancer Death Rate Continues to Fall

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Health professionals estimate that there will be 26,500 new cancer cases in Kentucky in 2020. They also project 5,000 of those cases to be lung cancer.

But, over the past two decades, the rate of cancer deaths has been on the decline.

The American Cancer Society reports between 1991 and 2017, the rate of people dying from cancer in the US declined. One of the biggest driving forces is the decline in lung cancer.

“I think it is a really exciting time to be treating lung cancer,” said Dr. Adam Lye, an oncologist at Norton Cancer Institute. “This is a disease and a cancer that is long overdue for advancement.”

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death. It accounts for ¼ of all cancer deaths (more than breast, prostrate, and colorectal cancer combined).

Several factors have contributed to the decline in cancer:

  • Reduction in smoking nationally
  • Improved and increased clinical trial research
  • Improved treatments such as immunotherapy and targeted therapy
  • Improved screening to detect cancer at earlier stages.

Kentucky Statistics

  • Rate of new lung cancer cases yearly is currently worst in the nation
  • Bottom tier survival rates for lung cancer overall
  • Top tier for lung cancer screening
  • Smoking rate is 24.6% and is second worst in the nation