Cancer In Numbers (Part 2): Predicted Deaths and Its Current Treatment Technology

Cancer research has come a long way. Today, we already have exact numbers of cancer statistics available on the internet. It can tell us the number of cancer cases, deaths, survival, and trends. At the same time, it can predict numbers for the future. In this article, we will be discussing these predictions on the projected number of cancer deaths. We will go over the highest number of projected cancer deaths and explain what these numbers mean. At the same time, we will be discussing current treatment technology for these cancers. Through this, we can determine whether the trend may increase or decrease.

Once again, we will be basing most of our data on the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER) and the United States Cancer Statistics (USCS). Both provide detailed reports and statistics on cancer cases in the United States. 


Top Projected Cancer Deaths and Their Current Treatment Technology

Cancer is still one of the major diseases with the most causes of death in the world. According to USCS, there were 599,589 cancer deaths in 2019. Fortunately, statistics show that there is a downward trend in these numbers. Between 2015 to 2019, there was an overall decrease in cancer deaths by 2.2% per year in men and 2.0% in women. 

In contrast, the SEER prediction for the number of cancer deaths in 2022 is 609,360. This contradicts the decreasing trend noted in previous years. However, we can argue that the numbers only tell the story. There is ongoing research on making cancer treatment better. A few alternatives are beginning to appear one by one. 

The conventional treatments for most cancers are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. However, these harm the surrounding normal cells in the tumor region, thus inducing side effects. The latest research on nanotechnology, targeted drug delivery, and photodynamic therapy may avoid these side effects. 


Lung and Bronchus Cancer

This disease affects the passageway of air into our bodies. Due to the intensity of air pollution today, more people are becoming vulnerable to the disease. Specifically, chronic tobacco smoking is a major cause of lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer is primarily due to smoking. This accounts for 85% of all lung cancer cases. 

SEER predicts lung and bronchial cancer to cause the most deaths in 2022. It tallies a total of 130,180 mortalities. This includes 68,820 deaths in men and 61,360 deaths in women. To reduce these numbers, we turn to recent advancements in cancer treatment technology.

In a 2019 review article on chemical and biological interactions, researchers highlighted emerging trends in lung cancer treatment. They discussed the contributions of nanotechnology in improving treatment. 

Specifically, these treatments can reduce toxicity in normal cells and enhance the ability of drugs to target tumor cells.  Nano-drug delivery options include liposomes, dendrimers, quantum dots, carbon nanotubes, and metallic nanoparticles. 


Colorectal Cancer

This gastrointestinal cancer involves both the colon and the rectum. Around 90-95% of these types of cancer are malignant tumors of the epithelial cells called adenocarcinoma. The remaining percentage comes mostly from mucinous adenocarcinoma, normally occurring in children. 

As of 2013, the 5-year survival rate for colorectal cancer was only 8%. In 2019, there were 51 896 deaths due to colorectal cancer. For 2022, SEER predicts 52,580 deaths. Calculating the percentage change, we have an increase of 1.31% compared to the 2019 statistics. 

To combat this probable increase, researchers are looking into personalized colorectal cancer therapy. They are now trying to alter cancer stem cells and tumor microenvironments as a treatment. These factors vary from one patient to another. Therefore, doctors need personalized medicine.

Specifically, this 2021 review study shows the advantages of using stem cells in colorectal cancer treatment. These stem cells can serve as biomarkers for tumor stratification and targeted therapies. Additionally, the tumor microenvironment has the potential to improve colorectal cancer therapies through prodrug treatments.


Pancreatic Cancer

Ranking third in predicted deaths, we have pancreatic cancer. In 2019, it had a 5-year survival rate of 9% in the United States. SEER predicts that this disease will cause 49,830 deaths in 2022. 

Research in pancreatic cancer treatment aims for better eligibility for surgery. Currently, surgery is only for patients with non-metastatic resectable tumors. Using advanced molecular testing of tumor biopsies can improve eligibility for surgery. Alternatively, researchers are also looking into immunotherapeutic strategies.

Another alternative that also utilizes nanoparticles is photodynamic therapy. This treatment method may increase efficacy and safety in unresectable and localized pancreatic tumors. Researchers are looking to use nanoparticles to deliver photosensitizers into the tumor region. Nanoparticles may also improve cellular uptake and biodistribution of the photosensitizers. 


Breast Cancer

Although it can affect both sexes, breast cancer occurs mostly in women. It is the most common cancer among women, with around 30% of all cancers occurring in the breast. According to the American Cancer Society, 40,920 deaths in 2018 were caused by breast cancer. In 2022, there will be 43,780 deaths due to breast cancer, with 530 cases occurring in males. 

Recent research on breast cancer treatment also relies heavily on nanoparticles. In particular, it highlights targeted drug delivery systems for selective treatment. However, there is also progress in HER2-Low breast cancer treatment. This research specializes in treating patients with crucial proteins called HER2. 


Prostate Cancer

The other lethal cancer that affects only one sex is prostate cancer. In this case, it exclusively affects men. It was responsible for 20% of cancer deaths in the Western male population. According to SEER, there will be 34,500 deaths due to prostate cancer in 2022.

Researchers are currently looking into novel drugs for prostate cancer treatment. There are several ongoing clinical trials for novel drugs as of 2018. Additionally, there were also a lot of newly-approved drugs by the Food and Drug Administration. Specifically, scientists are improving androgen deprivation therapy using these novel drugs. 

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