National cancer forecast: 1.66 million new cases in 2013

More than 1.66 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2013, while more than 580,000 Americans are expected to die of the disease, according to the annual statistics report of the American Cancer Society.

The report, released last week, notes that the overall death rate for cancer in the United States has declined significantly since 1991, primarily because of reductions in smoking and improved cancer screening.

The report is based on data from the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Center for Health Statistics. Those sources show that cancer deaths declined 20 percent from their peak in 1991 to 2009, the most recent date available.

In 2013, lung cancer is expected to account for 26 percent of all female cancer deaths and 28 percent of all male cancer deaths.

According to the report, about half of all new cancers found in men will involve the prostate, lungs, colon and rectum. Among women, the three most common types of cancer that will be diagnosed are breast, lung and colorectal.

Although cancer rates are declining for most types of cancer, they are increasing among both sexes for melanoma of the skin and cancers of the liver, thyroid and pancreas.

The report notes also that cancer rates are disproportionate among racial, education and income groups, and that more must be done to eliminate these differences.

Cancer mortality rates among both African American and white men with 12 or fewer years of education are almost three times higher than those of college graduates for all cancers combined.

Also, African Americans are more likely to develop and die from cancer than any other racial or ethnic group. The report said the cancer death rate for black men is 33 percent higher than it is for white males. For black women, the rate is 16 percent higher than for white women.