The American Cancer Society has issued its recent annual report regarding cancer death rates in the United States. It is projected for the year 2011 that there will be 1,596,670 new cases of cancers diagnosed with 571,950 cancer deaths. Improvements in cancer prevention, earlier detection, and better treatments are credited with the reduction of cancer deaths between 1990 and 2007 (22% reduction for men and 14% reduction for women, for a total reduction of approximately 898,000 cancer deaths).
Disparities in cancers and cancer death rates do exist. Lung cancer death rates for men are dropping faster than those for women, probably due to women beginning to smoke in large numbers later than men (death rates for lung cancer in men began to decline in 1990 but only began to decline in women just recently). Lung cancer accounts for 28% of cancer deaths in men and 26% for women. The most common causes of cancer deaths for men are lung cancer, prostate cancer, and colon/rectum cancer. For women, they are lung, breast, and colon/rectum cancers. Almost half of all cancer deaths among both men and women were the result of lung, prostate, breast, and colon/rectum cancers.
The educational level of people diagnosed with cancer had a great influence on cancer death rates, For example, for lung cancer in men, the death rate for the least educated was 5 times higher than the death rate for the most educated, which may reflect the smoking rates of these two groups (31% of high school or less educated men currently smoke versus 12% for college graduates and 5% for men with graduate degrees). The American Cancer Society estimates that 37% of premature cancer deaths, or 60,000 people, could have been saved had all people in the U.S. in 2007 had the same death rate as the most educated people.
The misdiagnosis and late diagnosis of cancer in both men and women (and also children) by health care providers continue to lead to the premature deaths of many people who would have survived had their cancers been timely and appropriately diagnosed. Misdiagnosis and late diagnosis of cancers lead to the expenditure of massive amounts of health care funds for treatment that would have been different or unnecessary if the cancers had been properly diagnosed. The loss of earning capacity and income of those whose cancers were not correctly diagnosed in time is a drain on the U.S. economy. The emotional toll on cancer patients and their families due to the negligent failure to timely and properly diagnose cancers is devastating and long-lasting.
The misdiagnosis or late diagnosis of cancer may be the basis for a medical malpractice claim. If you or a loved one had cancer that was not timely and appropriately diagnosed, visit our website to be connected with local medical malpractice lawyers who may be able to assist you with your medical malpractice claim or call us toll free at 800-295-3959.