That is the topic of a commentary I wrote with co-authors Joanna MacEwan and Farzad Ali, titled “Does COVID-19 Threaten the Progress Pharmaceuticals Have Made in Reducing Cancer Mortality Over the Last 20 Years?” An excerpt is below:
Cancer mortality rates have fallen significantly over the last 20 years. Between 2000 and 2010, overall age-adjusted cancer mortality rates decreased by about 1% per year globally.1 In the United States, the trend has been equally pronounced. Overall, the US cancer mortality rate declined by 29% between 1991 and 2017, translating into an estimated 2.9 million fewer cancer deaths.2 Notably, cancer mortality rates fell by 2.2% between 2016 and 2017, the sharpest single-year drop on record.2
This leaves us with 2 key questions: what factors are the primary causes of the reduction in cancer mortality, and does COVID-19 threaten to stall this progress?3
We discuss the role of pharmaceuticals in this decline in cancer mortality and what can be done to insure cancer mortality continues to fall even during the COVID-19 pandemic.