MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- The number of people dying from cancer in America is dropping, and local health officials say a similar trend is being seen in Wisconsin.
New research from the American Cancer Society shows the cancer death rate dropped 29 percent from 1991 to 2017 which is nearly 3 million fewer deaths. Dr. Howard Bailey, Director at the UW Carbone Cancer Center says when it comes to cancer research the national numbers mirror what doctors are seeing locally.
Between 2005 and 2018 nearly 10 percent fewer Americans were reported as smokers. Dr. Bailey says cancer treatments and detection have improved.
“We still have a lot of work to do and we all know that because too many of our family members still get cancer and still die from it but it is encouraging to know that there's evidence that together we are making a difference," said Dr. Bailey.
The American Cancer Society says the drop in the death rate over the last 26 years has been steady.
Along with the lung cancer, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers account for the greatest numbers of cancer deaths.
Nearly a quarter of all cancer deaths are caused by lung cancer. More Americans die from lung cancer than breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers combined. There is a slight rise in breast cancer incidence rates since 2004 as a result of fertility rate declines and increased obesity.
The cancer survival rate however has still improved across the board. Bailey says the cancer death rate is expected to continue to see similar numbers in the coming years.
"We plan and expect for that decline to continue as we as a society, as we as cancer researchers, cancer centers continue to really explore and push both better prevention, better screening, better diagnostics, better treatment of cancer," he said.
Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Cancer is the second leading cause of death, according to the CDC.