The American Cancer Society challenge goal to reduce US cancer mortality by 50% between 1990 and 2015: Results and reflections

In 1996, the Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society (ACS) challenged the United States to reduce what looked to be possible peak cancer mortality in 1990 by 50% by the year 2015. This analysis examines the trends in cancer mortality across this 25-year challenge period from 1990 to 2015. In 2015, cancer death rates were 26% lower than in 1990 (32% lower among men and 22% lower among women). The 50% reduction goal was more fully met for the cancer sites for which there was enactment of effective approaches for prevention, early detection, and/or treatment. Among men, mortality rates dropped for lung cancer by 45%, for colorectal cancer by 47%, and for prostate cancer by 53%. Among women, mortality rates dropped for lung cancer by 8%, for colorectal cancer by 44%, and for breast cancer by 39%. Declines in the death rates of all other cancer sites were substantially smaller (13% among men and 17% among women). The major factors that accounted for these favorable trends were progress in tobacco control and improvements in early detection and treatment. As we embark on new national cancer goals, this recent past experience should teach us that curing the cancer problem will require 2 sets of actions: making new discoveries in cancer therapeutics and more completely applying those discoveries in cancer prevention we have already made. CA Cancer J Clin 2016. © 2016 American Cancer Society.

CA: a cancer journal for clinicians. 2016 May 13 [Epub ahead of print]

Tim Byers, Richard C Wender, Ahmedin Jemal, Arnold M Baskies, Elizabeth E Ward, Otis W Brawley

Professor of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO., Chief Cancer Control Officer, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA., Vice President,Surveillance and Health Services Research Program, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA., Surgical Oncologist, Virtua Surgical Specialists, Hainesport, NJ and Vice-President of the American Cancer Society Board of Directors, Atlanta, GA., National Vice-President for Intramural Research, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA., Chief Medical Officer, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA.