Founded at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania

Abramson Cancer Center Chief on Latest Declines in Cancer Deaths


Clinical Transformation

Abramson Cancer Center Director Robert Vonderheide

University of Pennsylvania Abramson Cancer Center Director Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, is featured in a major Philadelphia Inquirer article following up on the newly released American Cancer Society Report documenting a historic decline in cancer mortality across the U.S.

“I think what we’re seeing for the first time is a bend in this curve toward better outcomes for our patients,” Vonderheide told the newspaper.

Largest single year drop
Published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, that Cancer Society document detailed the largest ever single-year drop in the rate of cancer deaths across the country. The trend was dominated by a substantial reduction in deaths due to lung cancer, but lesser declines were also found in a variety of other cancers.

Vonderheide, who is also Vice Dean of Cancer Programs at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and a member of the Governing Board of the Penn Center for Cancer Care Innovation (PC3I), said the drop in overall cancer mortality is likely to continue because of innovations and advances in prevention.

Immunological therapies cited
Vonderheide told the Inquirer that the rise of new immunological therapies and the national efforts to reduce tobacco use where part of the reason for the declines.

The Report said Pennsylvania had higher cancer mortality rates than the national average while New Jersey’s was lower.

Vonderheide told the Inquirer Philadelphia’s higher cancer rates may, in part, be related to the city’s many smokers and environmental exposures. He also pointed out that the city has some of the highest rates of obesity in the country and that ‘obesity is a major cause of cancer.”

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