About one-third of cancer deaths in 2012 will be caused by tobacco use, and another third will be related to overweight or obesity, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition, according to the American Cancer Society's annual report, Cancer Statistics, 2012.
Released yesterday, the report says that death rates continue to decline for lung, colon, breast, and prostate cancers, which are responsible for the most cancer deaths. However, there has been an increase in the past decade of people developing some less common cancers, including pancreas, liver, thyroid, and kidney cancer.
A total of 1,638,910 new cancer cases and 577,190 deaths from cancer are projected to occur in the United States in 2012. Between 1990/1991 and 2008, the most recent year for which data is available, overall death rates decreased by about 23% in men and 15% in women. This translates to more than 1 million cancer deaths that were avoided.
The rates of new cancer cases and cancer deaths vary quite a bit among racial and ethnic groups. For all cancer sites combined, African-American men have a 15% higher rate of new cancer cases and a 33% higher death rate than white men. African-American women have a 6% lower rate of new cancer cases, but a 16% higher death rate than white women. However, in the past decade, African-American men had the most rapid decline in death rates, at 2.4% per year.
A companion piece to the report, Cancer Facts & Figures 2012 highlights cancers with increasing incidence trends. Despite a decline in the rates of the most common cancers, there has been an increase in the rates of several less common cancers: pancreas, liver, thyroid, kidney, melanoma of the skin, esophageal adenocarcinoma (a kind of esophagus cancer), and some kinds of throat cancer associated with HPV (human papillomavirus) infection.