LOS ANGELES - The overall cancer mortality rate continues to decline for men, women and children in the U.S., according to the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer.
But a special section of the report, which was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on Thursday, focused on men and women ages 20 to 49 and found that new cases of cancer and mortality rates increased for women.
The annual report is a collaboration between the National Cancer Institute, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.
Cancer cases and mortality rates for people overall
For people of all ages overall, the report indicated that all cancer sites combined and deaths continued to decline from 1999 to 2016. The rates decreased about an average of 1.8 percent per year for men, 0.9 percent from 1999 to 2012 and then 1.4 percent per year from 2012 to 2016 for women and 1.3 percent for children up to age 14.
The report noted that rates of new cases and deaths from lung, bladder and larynx cancers continued to decrease as a result of long-term declines in smoking. But in contrast to that data, rates of new cancers connected to obesity and physical inactivity, such as uterine, post-menopausal breast and colorectal cancers, increased over time.
Thyroid cancer rates among women stabilized from 2013 to 2015, including new cancer cases. The researchers believe this could be due to changes in diagnosing cancer in connection to revised guidelines for small thyroid nodules.
The report also found rapid declines in death rates for melanoma and that could be a result of new therapies that have improved survival rates. Death rates for this specific cancer showed an 8.5 percent decrease per year from 2015 to 2016 for men and a 6.3 percent decrease per year from 2013 to 2016 for women.
Overall, death rates for men decreased for 10 of the 19 most common cancers among the sex but increased for six of them. The cancers with the highest increase were liver, oral cavity and pharynx cancer, and melanoma.
As for women, death rates decreased for 13 of the 20 most comment cancers among the sex, including lung and bronchus, breast and colorectal which are the most common, but increased for five. The cancers with the highest increase were uterine and liver.
Deaths, cancer cases increased for women ages 20-49
In the special section of the report, researchers looked at men and women ages 20 to 49 and found that rates for new cases and deaths were higher among women than men.
For that age group, researchers said the average annual case rate for all invasive cancers was 115.3 percent among men compared to 203.3 percent among women between 2011 and 2015. The cancer case rates decreased an average of 0.7 percent per year among men and increased an average of 1.3 percent among women.
From 2012 until 2016, the average annual cancer death rate was 22.8 among men and 27.1 among women in that age group. The most common cancers for women were breast at 73.2 percent, thyroid at 28.4 percent and melanoma at 14.1 percent.
The most common cancers for men in that age group were colon and rectal at 13.1 percent, testis at 10.7 percent and melanoma at 9.8 percent.
Authors also discovered that from 2012 until 2016, death rates decreased 2.3 percent a year for men and 1.7 percent per year for women.
Disparities between racial and ethnic groups
The report noted that data showed a continued disparity for people with different racial and ethnic backgrounds for cancer cases and deaths.
When data for people of all ages were combined and only compared to sex across all racial and ethnic groups, researchers found that black men and women had the highest cancer death rates. But black men and white women had the highest overall cancer case rates, while Asian and Pacific Islander men and woman had the lowest overall rates.
Researchers also found that non-Latino men and women had higher overall cancer case rates compared to Latino men and women.
To see the full report, you can go to seer.cancer.gov/report_to_nation/.