Cancer caused 4M years of lost life in U.S.

By Brian Casey, AuntMinnie.com staff writer

November 13, 2020 -- Cancer deaths resulted in more than 4 million potential years of life lost in the U.S. in 2017, according to a November 13 study in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. While overall cancer mortality has gone down, the potential number of years of lost life has remained stable due to the growing U.S. population.

Cancer mortality rates are often used to calculate the burden of cancer in a society, but another measure -- potential years of life lost (PYLL) -- can also be useful because it can estimate the impact of cancer-related premature deaths that occur in younger individuals, according to a team led by Dr. Minkyo Song, PhD, a research fellow at the U.S. National Cancer Institute (Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, November 13, 2020).

To calculate potential years of life lost, Song et al examined U.S. national death certificate data and grouped it by 45 categories based on cancer type. They defined PYLL as the sum of total years of life lost before the age of 75. The most recent year of data acquisition was 2017.

Overall, the group found that 4.28 million potential years of life lost occurred due to cancer in 2107, compared to 4.26 million PYLL in 1990. The reason for the slight increase was the growth in the U.S. population, as cancer mortality has actually fallen over this time period from 215 deaths per 100,000 to 153 deaths per 100,000. Also in 2017, an average of 12 years of life before age 75 was lost per cancer death.

The group found that cancers that caused the largest number of deaths also caused the highest number of potential lives lost. But there were variances, particularly for cancers that typically occur at younger ages.

Potential life years lost by cancer type in U.S.
  Total potential life years lost (PYLL) PYLL per death
Lung and bronchus 891,313 9.9 years
Colon and rectum 409,538 13.3 years
Breast 400,643 14.5 years
Pancreas 282,886 10.6 years
Liver and intrahepatic bile duct 229,777 11.9 years
Brain and other nervous system 221,026 17.3 years

Of the cancers that contributed to the most potential life years lost per death, testicular cancer was the highest, at 34 years lost per death, followed by cancer of the bone and joints at 26.4 years lost, and other endocrine cancers including thymus at 25.2.

While the number of lost years roughly tracked cancer incidence, one exception was prostate cancer, which causes about 5.1% of U.S. cancer deaths but only 2% of PYLL. The reason is that prostate cancer typically occurs later in life, Song et al noted.

Prostate cancer incidence, mortality decline worldwide
The incidence and mortality rates of prostate cancer have stabilized or declined in most countries throughout the world in recent years, according to...
Cancer death rates decline, but economic gap remains
The overall cancer death rate in the U.S. dropped by 27% over the past 25 years, but more needs to be done to reduce deaths among Americans of lower socioeconomic...
Report predicts plunge in U.S. lung cancer mortality
In a new paper, researchers from the U.S. National Cancer Institute and other U.S. institutions predict mortality from lung cancer will plunge through...
Cancer death disparities linked to poverty, lifestyle
Yale researchers have found that disparities in cancer death rates are linked to poverty and lifestyle factors across the U.S. The factors may provide...
Global lung cancer death rates for women to increase
Global lung cancer mortality rates for women will increase by 43% from 2015 to 2030, at which point more women are projected to die from lung disease...

Copyright © 2020 AuntMinnie.com

Last Updated bc 11/12/2020 11:12:14 PM