A 33% drop in the US cancer death rate since 1991, averting an estimated 3.8 million deaths, is due to improved treatment, less smoking, and increased early detection, says the American Cancer Society. “New revelations for prevention, for early detection and for treatment have resulted in true, meaningful gains in many of the 200 diseases that we call cancer,” says chief executive officer Karen Knudsen. The five-year relative survival rate for all cancers combined has increased from 49% for diagnoses in the mid-1970s to 68% for diagnoses during 2012-18. Cervical cancer rates among women in their early 20s dropped 65% from 2012 through 2019, as HPV vaccines were put into use. Cancer types that now have the highest survival rates are thyroid at 98%, prostate at 97%, testis at 95% and melanoma at 94%. Current survival rates are lowest for cancers of the pancreas, at 12%.

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