Aug. 12 (UPI) — Deaths from non-small cell lung cancer in the USA declined by about 3 percent per year on average between 2006 and 2016, according to an investigation published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine.
The number of Americans who died from the most common type of lung cancer dropped by 3.2% per year from 2006 through 2013 and by 6.3percent per year from 2013 through 2016, researchers from the National Cancer Institute said.
Between 2001 and 2008, rates of non-small cell lung cancer diagnoses across the country dropped by an average of 1.9% annually. Between 2008 and 2016, diagnoses nationally fell by an average of 3.1% per year, the study found.
This marks the first time deaths caused by the disease have declined faster than its incidence, researchers said.
“These findings are an important affirmation of what many people are experiencing in clinic — in addition to decreased exposure to tobacco smoke resulting in decrease in prevalence, screening attempts and therapeutic advances are altering clinical outcomes for patients with lung cancer,” Dr. Charles Rudin told UPI
However,”lung cancer remains the leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths for both women and men,” said Rudin, chief of the thoracic oncology service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and who wasn’t part of this National Cancer Institute analysis.
Reduced tobacco use in the USA has been associated with a progressive reduction in lung cancer deaths in males, since 1990, and in girls, because 2000, since fewer people are being diagnosed with the illness, according to the National Cancer Institute researchers.
The newest statistics, however, suggest the development of new treatments — including targeted treatments — and improved delivery of chemotherapy and radiation in recent years has had a positive effect as well, the researchers stated.
For this particular study, researchers looked at data for both non-small cell lung cancer, which accounts for 76% of lung cancers in the U.S., and small-cell lung cancer, which accounts for 13percent of lung cancers diagnosed.
The research was conducted with records published by the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results cancer registry.
Two-year survival for men who have non-small cell lung cancer increased 35% for patients diagnosed with 2014 from 26% for those diagnosed 2001, the researchers stated.
The decline in deaths from cell lung cancer because 2013 corre