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Nearly 2 million cancer cases likely to be diagnosed in 2022: report

The report also estimates that there will be more than 609,000 cancer deaths.

Nearly 2 million new cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed and some 609,000 people will likely die of cancer in the United States in 2022, according to a new report released Wednesday.

The American Cancer Society’s annual report estimates that 1,918,030 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer, which equates to 5,250 new cases detected every day. This is an increase from around 1.8 million new cases that likely occurred in 2021.

The two figures – for cases and deaths – are the highest estimates made by the ACS since at least 2007.

Health experts have suggested that people missing cancer screens and doctor’s appointments due to the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to increased cancer rates in the years to come.

However, Dr. Rebecca Siegel, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society and corresponding author of the report, told ABC News that the estimates were made on the basis of comprehensive data, which is only available until 2018 for the cases. and 2019 for deaths.

“We absolutely expect the pandemic to have an impact on cancer rates due to delays in screenings and diagnoses due to the shutdown of health care, but we have yet to report it.” , she said.

She expects future reports to likely reflect the impacts of the pandemic.

One of the findings of the report is that breast cancer cases are slowly increasing by around 0.5% each year. By 2022, an estimated 290,560 Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer, mostly women.

Siegel said it’s not because of an increase in screenings that detect cancer, but rather because more women are having fewer children later in life – both of which are linked to an increased likelihood of cancer. breast.

“This is believed to be linked to the continued decline in the fertility rate, as the higher number of deliveries and early age protect against breast cancer, and we know that women have children later and that they have fewer children, ”she said. . “So that’s probably contributing to that small increase.”

She added that a higher body weight also increases the risk of breast cancer and that the increase in obesity rates is likely a contributing factor.

The report also showed disparities when it comes to communities of color. For example, black women were 40% more likely to die from breast cancer despite having lower rates than white women.

Siegel said this is because minorities traditionally have less access to high-quality health care and more effort needs to be made to provide access to disadvantaged communities.

However, the report also had a few bright spots. The overall risk of cancer death has been declining steadily since 1991, with an estimated 3.5 million cancer deaths averted in 2019.

“The population-level data presented in this report reflects our experience in treating patients. Cancer has become a curable or chronic disease for more Americans, ”Dr. Deb Schrag, president of medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, who was not involved in the report, told ABC News in a report. communicated.

Additionally, although lung cancer continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States – with approximately 350 lung cancer deaths per day – the three-year survival rate has fallen from 21% in 2004 to 31 %.

Siegel said the drop in smoking has played a role, but the most important factors are recent improvements in treatment and early-stage lung cancer.

“One finding was that twice as many lung cancers are detected at an early stage, which means more patients see their cancer detected when they are most treatable,” Dr Lauren Byers, lung cancer expert at MD Anderson Cancer. Center in Texas, which was not involved in the report, told ABC News.

Siegel said she hopes the new report encourages people to stay up to date on their cancer screenings.

“We now have a lot of screening tests that are effective in preventing cancer deaths and so, while none of these tests are perfect, being up to date and talking with your doctor about when you should screen can really help reduce your risk of dying from cancer, “she said.

ABC News

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