Latest Cancer Data Shows Prostate Cancer on the Rise, While Cervical Cancer Rate Plummets

The American Cancer Society’s Statistics for 2023 reports key findings about cancer incidences and mortality rates in the US.

On January 12, the American Cancer Society (ACS) released the organization’s Cancer Statistics 2023 — which delivers the most up-to-date estimates on new cancer diagnoses and cancer deaths in the US. It also gathers recent data on population-based occurrence and outcomes of all types of cancer.

The organization uses data gathered by central cancer registries and the National Center for Health Statistics to compile the report.

According to CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, and its consumer-friendly companion, Cancer Facts & Figures 2023, since 1991, the overall cancer mortality rate has dropped 33%. This reduction has averted an estimated 3.8 million cancer deaths.

The statistics show that in 2023, 1,958,310 new cancer cases and 609,820 cancer deaths are estimated to occur in the US. In addition, the probability of being diagnosed with invasive cancer over the lifespan is slightly higher for males (40.9%) than for females (39.1%).

Greater exposure to cancer-causing factors, such as smoking, is thought to be responsible for the slightly higher risk of cancer in men. However, factors such as height, endogenous hormone exposure, and immune system function may also play a role.

In men, prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers account for 48% of all cases. However, prostate cancer alone accounted for 29% of cancer diagnoses.

The report also revealed that prostate cancer in males increased 3% every year from 2014 through 2019 — the first increase observed in approximately 20 years.

Changes to prostate screening guidelines may play a role in the rising incidence of prostate cancer. According to the ACS, in 2008, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) changed their screening guidelines to recommend PSA testing for men aged 75 and older. Previously, the recommendation encompassed a broader age range.

To address the concerning trend in prostate cancer, the ACS is launching an initiative called Improving Mortality from Prostate Cancer Together (IMPACT).

IMPACT will initiate new research programs incorporating laboratories, clinics, and the community to identify people most at risk for prostate cancer. The program will also work to expand public policy and patient access to prostate cancer screening and care.

Among women, breast cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer accounted for 52% of all new cancer diagnoses. Alone, breast cancer accounted for 31% of all female cancers.

However, among women in their 20s, the incidence of cervical cancer fell 65% from 2012 through 2019. This age group is the first to receive the human papillomavirus vaccine.

In the ACS Fact and Figures news report, Rebecca Siegel, senior scientific director of surveillance research at the American Cancer Society and the lead author said, “the large drop in cervical cancer incidence is extremely exciting because this is the first group of women to receive the HPV vaccine, and it probably foreshadows steep reductions in other HPV-associated cancers.”

Still, breast, endometrial, liver cancers, and melanoma continued to increase in women. In contrast, liver cancer and melanoma stabilized in men aged 50 years and older and declined in younger men.

Cancer deaths from leukemia, melanoma, kidney cancer, and lung cancer have decreased by approximately 2% per year from 2016 through 2020 — likely due to innovations in cancer treatments.

Yet, concern remains about the increases observed in breast, prostate, and endometrial cancers. Although the overall incidence of cancer is highest in White people, followed closely by American Indian/Alaska Native and Black people, Black men have a 70% higher incidence of prostate cancer.

To mitigate disparities associated with these types of cancers, the ACS suggests strategies moving forward include, expanding access to care, increasing investment in researching advanced treatment options, and developing successful interventions to reduce healthcare inequalities.

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