Cancer Facts and Figures 2008 Released
Article date: February 20, 2008
Cancer mortality rates in the US continue to decline, although the number of actual cancer-related deaths has gone up, according to Cancer Facts and Figures 2008, the American Cancer Society's annual cancer statistics report. While that sounds like mixed news, ACS experts say progress is being made in the fight against cancer.
The annual statistics report includes estimates of new cancer cases and deaths for the coming year, as well as the most recent cancer mortality data -- in this case, for 2005. The findings, along with detailed state-by-state data on cancer cases and deaths, are published in the March/April issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, and in the standalone Facts and Figures report.
Cancer death rates have decreased by 18.4% among men and 10.5% among women since the early 1990s. But while reports from the last two years have seen declines in the overall number of cancer deaths (in 2003 and 2004), this year's report examining 2005 data shows an increase (559,312 cancer deaths in 2005 compared to 553,888 in 2004).
ACS epidemiologists attribute the rise in part to normal population changes. In 2005, the decrease in death rate was simply not large enough to offset the influence of aging in the population, they say. In addition, there was a smaller decline in the death rate than in previous years. The cancer death rate dropped 1% between 2004 and 2005, compared with 2% between both 2002 to 2003 and 2003 to 2004.
"The increase in the number of cancer deaths in 2005 after two years of historic declines should not obscure the fact that cancer death rates continue to drop, reflecting the enormous progress that has been made against cancer during the past 15 years," said John R. Seffrin, PhD, American Cancer Society chief executive officer. "While in 2005 the rate of decline was not enough to overtake other population factors, the fact remains that cancer mortality rates continue to drop and they're doing so at a rate fast enough that over half a million deaths from cancer were averted between 1990/1991 and 2004."
According to the report, prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers account for about half of all cancer diagnoses among men; in women, breast, lung, and colorectal cancer make up 50%. Cancer incidence rates have more or less steadied since the late 1990s, but certain cancers do appear to be on the decline. Lung cancer incidence rates are down in men and appear to be leveling off in women. There were fewer cases of colorectal cancer in both men and women from 1998 to 2004; female breast cancer incidence rates decreased 3.5% per year from 2001 to 2004.
ACS epidemiologists estimate that there will be 1,437,180 new cancer cases (745,180 in men and 692,000 in women) and 565,650 cancer deaths (294,120 among men and 271,530 among women) in 2008.
African-American men have a 19% higher incidence rate and 37% higher death rate from all cancers combined compared to white men. Compared to white women, African-American women are less likely to get cancer, but when they do get it, they're more likely to die from it.
Each year, ACS researchers include a special section in Cancer Facts and Figures highlighting an issue of cancer research or care that has particular relevance or resonance. This year, researchers provide overview of health insurance systems and describe the impact of being uninsured or underinsured on cancer diagnosis and prognosis.
“The progress that has been made in reducing cancer death rates is a direct result of investment in approaches that we know work, such as comprehensive tobacco control and screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers, as well as research that has identified more successful treatments,” said Otis W. Brawley, MD, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.
“However, we believe that lack of health insurance and inadequate health insurance is one of the most important barriers to continued progress. A growing body of data shows that compared to those with private insurance, those without health insurance are less likely to receive smoking cessation advice and treatment, about half as likely to receive cancer screening, more likely to be diagnosed at late stage, and less likely to survive after a cancer diagnosis. We are committed to addressing this critical issue.”
Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff
ACS News Center stories are provided as a source of cancer-related news and are not intended to be used as press releases.
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