Increases in investments in cancer care equal decreases in cancer deaths

At the end of 2014, the American Cancer Society announced that the 22 percent drop in cancer mortality over two decades is a result of fewer Americans smoking, but also advances in cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment. With Georgia paralleling the national trend, the declining mortality rates data comes as Georgia's General Assembly considers Governor Nathan Deal's budget recommendations that dedicate a portion of Georgia's tobacco settlement funds to critically important Georgia-based cancer initiatives, including Georgia CORE.

“It is clear that Georgia’s strategic investments in statewide cancer initiatives over more than a decade are being leveraged exponentially to have a real impact on our decline in cancer deaths,” said Georgia CORE president and CEO Nancy Paris. “This data reflects our remarkable progress in bringing the highest quality of cancer care and an increased number of clinical trials to patients throughout the state.”

When Georgia CORE was formed just over ten years ago, Georgia was ranked among those states with the highest cancer death rates across the country. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics now shows Georgia’s decline in mortality rates mirrors the national average.*

Building the network and strengthening partnerships among the state’s oncology professionals is paying off, according to Paris. “The number of trials available in Georgia, for instance, has doubled in just the last five years,” she said. “This is thanks to the extraordinary level of collaboration among community and academic oncologists committed to a unified, comprehensive approach to meeting the highest international standards of care and research.

“Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Georgia, however, and with 16,460 cancer deaths anticipated this year, and a rate that is still higher than the national average, there is much more important work to be done,” said Paris.

 

*Rates compared are from 2011, which is the most recent year with numbers available. See graphic.