After Trump Brags About Lower Cancer Deaths, American Cancer Society Says They 'Dropped Before You Took Office'

On Thursday, The American Cancer Society released a new report which revealed that there has been a sharp decline in deaths from cancer between 2017 and 2018. When President Trump tried to take credit for this drop, pointing to legislature he'd previously signed, the American Cancer Society demurred.

The 2.2 percent drop means 2.9 million fewer deaths from the disease, with the overall death rate dropping by 29 percent.

The ACS noted, however, that death rates for some forms of cancer—such as breast and prostate cancer—are improving at a slower rate than in the past.

"Every year that we see a decline in cancer mortality rate, it's very good news," said Rebecca Siegel, director of surveillance research at the American Cancer Society and lead author the report to The New York Times.

President Trump tweeted about the good news as a win for his administration.

"U.S. Cancer Death Rate Lowest In Recorded History! A lot of good news coming out of this Administration," the president tweeted.

U.S. Cancer Death Rate Lowest In Recorded History! A lot of good news coming out of this Administration.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2020

But a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society disagreed with the president taking credit for the low death rate from the disease.

President Trump
While President Trump has taken credit for a steep drop in cancer deaths in 2017, the effect his funding had on the results is not show in the study, says the American Cancer Society. Brittany Greeson/Getty

"The mortality trends reflected in our current report, including the largest drop in overall cancer mortality ever recorded from 2016 to 2017, reflect prevention, early detection, and treatment advances that occurred in prior years," said the American Cancer Society chief executive officer and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Gary Reedy in a written statement.

"Since taking office, the president has signed multiple spending bills that have included increases in funding for cancer research at the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute—though the impact of those increases are not reflected in the data contained in this report," he continued.

"The administration has an opportunity to significantly impact future declines in both cancer incidence and mortality by increasing access to comprehensive health care, supporting robust and sustained increases in federal funding for cancer research and passing and implementing evidence-based tobacco control policies," concluded Reedy's statement.

Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz tweeted that President Trump had tried to pass budget cuts to research funding at the National Institute of Health in 2019, which would have slashed the department's funds by 12 percent. The National Cancer Institute would have suffered the hardest blow to its budget, losing $4.5 billion in funding. In 2017, Trump's proposed budget would have cut funding to the National Institute of Health by 22 percent.

"Cancer rates dropped before you took office. Hopefully they keep dropping because Congress rejected your cruel research budgets, which sought billions in CUTS to @NIH and the National Cancer Institute. This is good news despite you - not because of you," Wasserman Schultz tweeted.

Cancer rates dropped before you took office. Hopefully they keep dropping because Congress rejected your cruel research budgets, which sought billions in CUTS to @NIH and the National Cancer Institute. This is good news despite you - not because of you https://t.co/gxPvAYSPFe

— Debbie Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) January 9, 2020