The expected increase in new cancer diagnoses this year is record-setting, even as overall cancer mortality is expected to continue its decline, the American Cancer Society said in its latest report.
The report was based on the most recent data on population-based cancer occurrences and outcomes collected by central cancer registries through 2020 and mortality data from the National Center of Health Statistics through 2021.
The projected number of new diagnoses tops 2 million for the first time, with an increase in six out of 10 top cancers. Notably, colorectal cancer new cases have shifted mortality patterns in adults younger than 50 and have moved up from being the fourth leading cause of cancer death to the first in men and second in women.
Here are eight other report findings:
- Cancer mortality declined through 2021 due to reductions in smoking, earlier detection for some cancers and improved treatment options in both adjuvant and metastatic settings.
- lncidence rates increased from 2015-2019 by 0.6% to 1% for breast, pancreas and uterine cancers, 1% to 2% for cervical and colorectal cancers in young adults, and by 2% to 3% for prostate, liver (female), kidney and human papillomavirus‐associated oral cancers and for melanoma.
- Mortality rates were two-fold higher for prostate, stomach and uterine corpus cancers in Black people and for liver, stomach and kidney cancers in Native American people compared to white people.
- Cervical cancer incidence rates decreased steeply in women in their 20s, who were first to receive the HPV vaccine, but increased in women 30-44 years old by 1.7% per year from 2012 through 2019.
- Cancer new cases in children leveled off, although rates increased among adolescents 15-19 years old with a greater than 4% per year rise in thyroid cancer.
- Mortality rates continue to increase by 2% each year for uterine corpus cancer.
- More patients are being diagnosed at a younger age, with diagnosis increasing by 5% for people 50-64 years old; however, adults 65 and older saw a decrease in diagnoses, from 61% in 1995 to 58% in 2019-2020.
- There was a decrease in incidence of prostate and smoke-related cancers in older adults, but also an increased cancer incidence in people born after the 1950s because of higher obesity and other unknown factors.