The report, published in the CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians on Thursday, said that even though the pandemic happened, and was different from other top mortality causes, the death rate from cancer kept going down from 2019 to 2020. This assisted in a comprehensive drop of 33% since 1991, and around 3.8 million deaths avoided by estimation.
However, not all cancer rates went down. The prostate cancer rate went up 3% per year from 2014 to 2019 after it had been going down for twenty years. Breast and uterine corpus cancers also went up. Early discovery can help with all of these cancers, the report stated.
“There’s a significant call to arms,” Karen Knudsen, the American Cancer Society’s chief executive officer, told the Wall Street Journal. “We are not catching these cancers early when we have an opportunity to cure men of prostate cancer.”
As the Journal pointed out, the report noted that prostate cancer rates went down from 2007 to 2014 by around 40% because of lower “localized tumors” diagnoses that were caught due to PSA testing. The United States Preventive Services Task Force said men 75 years old and up shouldn’t be screened in 2008 – and in 2012, they said all men shouldn’t be screened. But, as the report noted, prostate cancer rates have gone up each year from 2014 to 2019. The increase is being pushed by more later-stage diagnoses that have gone up around 4.5% each year, starting in 2011.
According to the Premier Medical Group, the National Cancer Institute said that PSA testing could essentially lead to overdiagnosis, causing men to go through remedies that they don’t need that could be harmful to them.
In 2018, the task force said that men between the ages of 55 to 69 should talk to their doctor about possible risks and upsides and make their own choice about whether they should be screened.
Death rates from prostate cancer are around two to four times higher for black men than they are for other racial and ethnic demographics.
“We’re seeing some of the consequences of diminished screening,” Dr. Jonathan Shoag, who has analyzed prostate cancer PSA testing, said, per the Journal. “We’re not detecting cancers we don’t want to know about, but the cancers that we’re finding are worse cancers.”
Cervical cancer rates have also gone down 65% in the years of 2012 through 2019 for young women, who were the first group to get the human papillomavirus vaccine.