Creative Commons License

Number of U.S. Cancer Cases on Rise

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 11:31 AM EDT

The number of cancer cases reported in the United States each year is expected to increase 45 percent by 2030, according to a new study performed at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Caner Center in Houston.

Leading the way in this near doubling of cancer cases will be a dramatic rise in the number of minorities and elderly contracting cancer. Based on the study, minority cases of cancer will double from 330,000 to 660,000 in the next 20 years. This rise is attributed to increased immigration and an accelerated birthrate when compared to Caucasian U.S. citizens. Furthermore, the number of elderly minorities is expected to increase, resulting in compounded chances for contracting cancer.

Dr. Benjamin Smith, a radiation oncologist who led the study, finds these minority figures troubling. According to him, “this population is particularly at risk for not receiving adequate cancer care and, as a result, having worse outcomes from their cancer.”

Backing Dr. Smith’s concern, are numerous previous studies that show uninsured Americans have a lower tendency to seek out cancer screenings, are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at a later phase and less likely to be a cancer survivor. Historically, minorities are more likely to be uninsured.

The team at the Anderson Cancer Center reached their conclusions by analyzing data culled from both the U.S. Census Bureau and the largest U.S. cancer registry. As a whole, the U.S. population is expected to increase 19 percent by 2030 and cancer rates will rise 45 percent. Beyond the influx of minorities, the increase is attributed to a rise in the total number of elderly citizens living in America.

Population shift is expected to see 70 percent of all cancer cases diagnosed in elderly patients by 2030, as opposed to 60 percent today. Similarly, minority cancer rates will increase from 21 percent in 2010 to 28 percent in 2030. Additionally, instances of liver and stomach cancer are expected to increase at an accelerated rate compared to other forms of cancers. These two cancers are far more prevalent in minority populations and historically have a low survival rate.