The poor prognosis of the deadly disease called cancer seems to be constant for the next two decades. The most common type of cancers that prevail in the US are melanoma, breast, colon, and lung cancer. Latest reports suggest that the type of cancers that are most commonly responsible for causing deaths are pancreatic, liver, lung, and colorectal cancers.
The Shift In The Prevalent Rate Of Different Variants Of Cancers
According to Dr. Kevin Nead, an assistant professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, cases of cancer will keep increasing with a growth in the population of the US. But interestingly, a study found that the list of common cancer variants has changed. In recent years, for instance, cases of lung cancer have reduced due to the ongoing campaigns on anti-smoking. Deaths occurring from lung cancers have declined sharply, subsequently reducing cancer-related deaths occurring since 1991.
However, cancers caused by colon, liver, obesity, and pancreas may continue or even increase in the years to come. Kim Miller, who is a scientist working with the American Cancer Society, reviewed the new study and found that there is a shift in the rise of cancers from lungs to obesity.
Nead and his colleagues reviewed the demographic data of 2016 to find out the probable cases of cancer by 2040. Their findings revealed that breast cancer is currently leading the type of cancers prevailing in the US. However, deaths occurring from breast cancer are likely to fall from the current cases of 42,000 to 30,000 in 2040.
After breast cancer, melanoma is expected to become the second most common type of cancer by 2040. While the exact reason for the rise in melanoma cases is unknown, experts suspect that this might be a result of people exposing themselves directly to the harmful UV rays.
What follows breast cancer and melanoma are lung cancer and colon cancer. Cases of death from lung cancers are projected to grow by 2040. But deaths occurring from colon cancers are not expected to be high in at least the next two decades. Rather, pancreatic cancers are to become the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths. And it shall be followed by liver cancers that are expected to become the third most common cause of deaths occurring from cancers. Meanwhile, the rank of prostate cancer among the common cancer variants is to fall at 14th by 2040.
As gastrointestinal cancers continue to increase in the population, Nead believes that there are areas where cancer-preventive measures are not yet fully developed. And new cases of cancer arising from those lagging areas might be a serious concern.
The best way to fight off cancers is to prevent them from occurring, advises Nead. And to achieve that, the availability of screening tools is crucial. But the screening tools used for liver and pancreatic cancer are not established as good. Also, the screening tools available for colon cancer are not utilized fully; only 1 in 3 people attends the screening test despite meeting the guideline recommendations. So, while there are milestones in medical science in developing treatments that can cure cancer, there are not enough means for preventing it in the first place.
The projection of the possible cancer cases by 2040 may change depending on the ongoing preventive measures and treatments. As a type of cancer is found to become more common, the preventive measures to bring that in control increase. This eventually contributes to making that particular cancer variant less common over the next few years. For instance, breast cancer is currently the most commonly occurring cancer in the US. But this data may change in the next two decades as treatments and prevention for breast cancer improve.