Cancer Deaths Down by a Quarter Since 1991

The number of Connecticut residents succumbing to cancer has been decreasing steadily in recent years, and total cancer deaths in the United States have fallen by about a quarter since 1991. A report released on Jan. 5 by the American Cancer Society puts these improvements down to improved screening, more effective treatments and a large drop in the number of Americans who smoke.

Improvements in cancer prevention and care have saved the lives of more than 2 million Americans over the last 25 years and death rates are falling by about 1.5 percent every year for both men and women according to the ACS report, but the organization says that more research and testing must be done in the coming years if these trends are to continue. The ACS also called on the health care sector to be more proactive in making current treatment options available to the poor.

In addition to new cancer screening methods being developed and effective preventative treatments like colonoscopies being performed more often, older and less accurate testing protocols are being ordered less frequently. Among these is the prostate-specific antigen blood test, which has been criticized because it often detects prostate cancer in patients who are cancer free. However, a cure for cancer still remains a long way off, and the ACS expects about 600,000 Americans to succumb to the disease in 2017.

Detecting progressive diseases like cancer in their early stages is often crucial for a positive outcome, and doctors who fail to order the appropriate tests or misinterpret test results may face civil lawsuits. However, establishing that the treatment provided was not up to accepted standards can be challenging in litigation stemming from a delayed diagnosis, and attorneys with medical malpractice experience may call upon oncologists and other medical experts when seeking compensation for people who have been harmed due to these types of medical errors.