Cancer death rates fall steadily in the U.S., with more survivors than ever

Young girl receiving chemotherapy

by Peter Schulte

September 22, 2022 C.E.

New data from the American Association for Cancer Research has revealed significant, continued gains in the fight against cancer in the United States over the past several decades. The five-year overall survival rate has increased from 49% to 70% since the 1970s. Due to this improved rate of survival, an estimated 3.5 million lives have been saved since 1991.

Better yet, there’s no evidence to suggest these gains will slow down any time soon. While there were only three million known cancer survivors in the U.S. in 1971, there are now 18 million living cancer survivors with this figure expected to grow to 26 million by 2040.

The gains in survival rate are likely due both to lifestyle changes, such as reduced smoking, healthier eating, and increased exercise, as well as our increased ability to detect and treat cancer in its early stages. Cancer treatment technologies and approaches perhaps stand to improve even further as President Biden has made increased cancer research funding a priority in his Cancer Moonshot initiative.

Despite these incredible gains, cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the U.S., after heart disease. Perhaps with further progress in healthy lifestyle choices, pollution prevention, and the development of innovative cancer therapies, we will see it fall out of the top five in our lifetimes.


Era: Today (2017 C.E. - 2024 C.E.)
Year: 2022 C.E.
Topic: Public health & disease
Region: North & Central America
Country: United States
Actor Type: Nations