Just reading the word makes us uncomfortable. And rightfully so considering this disease takes an average of 599,108 lives a year in the US alone, making it the second leading cause of death in the country.
These stats are daunting and, honestly, quite frightening. However, new data suggest these numbers could be drastically changing for the better in the near future.
The latest edition of the American Cancer Society’s annual report on cancer rates and trends states that overall cancer mortality declined by an astonishing 29% from 1991-2017. This drop in mortality converts to approximately 2.9 million few cancer caused deaths in this timeframe.
Of all cancers, the most rapid mortality rate decline occurred for skin cancer melanoma. A study found that the death rate from melanoma fell by a drastic 18% overall with the sharpest decline in death being seen in people over the age of 50.
This decrease is largely attributed to breakthrough treatments that have been able to push the one-year survival rate of patients from 42% to 55%. These new treatments include targeted therapies and immunotherapy that have only recently been approved for advanced melanoma stages.
Another leading cause of this drop in melanoma mortality is believed to be a general rise in sun protection awareness. Recent public health efforts have focused on educating people on the dangers of overexposure to UV rays and the effects of sun damage. This has caused people to not only better protect themselves while out under the sun, but also get their skin checked more regularly by a dermatologist.