The American Association for Cancer Research just released a report which predicts the most deadly cancers for 2030. These top killers are:
Lung cancer already claims more lives here in America than any other, but liver and pancreatic cancer are predicted to surpass the likes of prostate and breast cancer in the next two decades.
Breakdown of the deadliest cancers in the U.S. as of 2014:
- Lung cancer is no. 1 for both men and women
- Breast cancer is second most dangerous for women
- Prostate cancer is second most dangerous for men
- Colorectal cancer is the third most dangerous for men and women
Which Cancers are the Most Deadly?
Researchers scrutinized data collected on cancer incidence and overall death rates between 2006 and 2010. After accounting for expected demographic alterations over the next 16 years, they were able to come up with their predictions.
On a more positive note, cancer-death rates overall have been dropping steadily for the last few decades due to improved methods of screening and treatment. We’ve seen significant success in our fight against common diseases like breast and colon cancer. Unfortunately, there are several cancers whose death rates are still expected to increase, including:
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Liver Cancer
“We’ve been able to turn the tide in other cancers, with an investment in (research),” stated Lynn Matrisian, VP of affairs at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and lead author on the report. “We’re hoping that with increased effort … we will be able to impact and change those projections.”
The reported incidence of pancreatic cancer has been slowly climbing for the last 15 years. Experts believe that the epidemic rate of diabetes and obesity has played a strong role in this.
“Many Americans are not aware that the combination of obesity, high-caloric intake and lack of physical activity is the second-leading cause of cancer in the U.S.,” explained Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. “It is linked to at least 12 types of cancer, of which these are two. This is an American problem … the rise in pancreatic cancer is not as severe as in Europe where obesity is less of an issue.”
(Quick Fact: Researchers also theorize that obesity could affect a patient’s prognosis as well.)
Experts all agree that the number of cancer patients will steadily increase over the next 16 years, given the steadily growing senior population. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Reported cancer cases in 2010 for the U.S. – 1.5 million
- Expected cancer cases by 2030 – 2.1 million
“We’re living much longer in the United States, so the number of people 65 age and older will be much greater,” explained Matrisian. “And that’s, of course, one of the biggest risk factors for cancer: Age.”
The Big Four in America
Currently, the cancers that have the highest incidence rates in the U.S. are known as the “big four”. These are:
- Lung Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
(Quick Fact: The big four also receive the most research funding from the National Cancer Institute.)
Researchers don’t expect these two be much different (aside from melanoma and thyroid cases potentially surpassing colorectal cancer) by 2030.
“The decrease in colorectal cancer, falling from the top four incidence and top two in deaths, seems to be primarily the result of advances in colorectal cancer screening,” writes the authors of the report.
Why Is Pancreatic Cancer so Dangerous?
The increased number of thyroid cases is going to be the result of better screening methods and more people being diagnosed. Thyroid cancer also has a comparatively high five-year survival rate (98%) especially compared to pancreatic cancer (only 6%).
Even with contemporary medical imaging, it’s hard to scan a person’s pancreas due to it’s location. The tumors that develop in this organ are often enveloped in dense tissue which renders most drugs ineffective. Surgery is are best method of treating pancreatic cancer patients, but only 20% of diagnosed cases are even still operable.
The report concludes that best way to save more patients with pancreatic cancers is to invest more funding into identifying earlier methods of detection and gaining a better understanding of the disease as a whole.