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Surveillance Research

The Surveillance Research program produces widely utilized service publications as well as important research contributions. Surveillance Research is best known for its widely cited estimated numbers of new cancer cases and deaths projected to occur in the US each year. The information is published annually in Cancer Facts & Figures for lay audiences and the Cancer Statistics article in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians for health professionals. This group also collaborates with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the North American Association for Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) to produce the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer. Recent research projects have included the relationship between level of education and mortality, temporal trends in breast cancer mortality by state, and trends in colorectal cancer internationally and by socioeconomic status and age in the US.

Vice President: Ahmedin Jemal, PhD; ahmedin.jemal@cancer.org

Highlights and Collaboration


The 2nd edition of Global Cancer Facts & Figures was released on World Cancer Day, February 4, 2011.

Cancer Facts & Figures for African Americans 2011-2011 was released in February 2011.


Surveillance Research continually seeks joint research opportunities to provide evidence-based information on cancer trends, including risk factors and prevention. Some recent examples of these collaborative efforts include:

Dr. Ahmedin Jemal is a regular contributor to the Annual Report to the Nation, a collaborative research project between the ACS, NCI, CDC, and NACCR which began in 1998 to provide updated information on progress against cancer in the US. He twice has been a lead author. This publication receives strong media attention.

Dr. Jemal and Deeapa Naishadham are collaborating with the National Cancer Institute to improve new cancer case and deaths projection methods.  

Dr. Jemal collaborated with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and several US agencies 2010. Two collaborative projects were initiated: lifestyle factors and cancer in Ethiopia and a “Global Cancer Statistics” article for publication in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Dr. Jemal and Dr. Iris Lansdorp-Vogelaar, Erasmus University, are estimating the contributions of racial differences in screening and treatment for the black-white disparities in colorectal cancer mortality rates.

Dr. Vilma Cokkinides collaborated with Dr. Robert Smith, Director – Cancer Screening, in the most recent update of cancer screening guidelines from the American Cancer Society published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Drs. Jemal and Cokkinides provide scientific expertise to other components of the American Cancer Society.

Ms. Rebecca Siegel serves as Board Member of North American Association of Cancer Registries.


Dr. Jemal was lead author on the “Annual report to the nation on the status of cancer, 1975-2005, featuring trends in lung cancer, tobacco use and tobacco control.” This report is a collaborative effort among ACS, NCI, CDC and NAACCR which provides an update to the public and research community about progress against cancer in the United States. The 2008 annual report special topic examined trends in lung cancer rates by state and characterized the states qualitatively according to tobacco use and tobacco control activities (tobacco tax, tobacco prevention spending). These findings were widely covered by both print (including the New York Times) and broadcast media (NPR and all major evening news broadcasts [NBC, CBS, ABC]).

Dr. Jemal was a member of the organizing committee for the 31st Annual Scientific Congress and Meeting of the International Association of Cancer Registries held in New Orleans, USA, June 3-5, 2009. He co-chaired the plenary session on “Trends and Projections.” ACS president, Dr. Elizabeth Fontham, was the keynote speaker. The SHPR research staff prepared the material for her talk on “Colorectal Cancer Incidence in Selected Countries: Public Health Implications.” The meeting was attended by more than 300 scientists from countries around the world.

The second edition of Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2008-2010, as well as four research articles published in peer reviewed journals, highlighted the importance of colorectal cancer prevention, early detection and access to care as well as disparities by race, socioeconomic status, age, and geographic region. Several of these publications received media coverage, including the New York Times, LA Times, Bloomberg News, and HealthDay (NY Times syndicate).

A series of papers were published regarding level of education and mortality in the U.S. population. These studies found that socioeconomic disparities in mortality are increasing rather than decreasing for almost all major cancers (and also for major causes other than cancer), reflecting continued progress by the most educated Americans and stable or worsening trends among the least educated.


Smith RA, Cokkinides VE, Saslow D, Shah M, Brawley OW. Cancer screening in the United States, 2011; A review of current American Cancer Society guidelines and issues in cancer screening. CA Cancer J Clin. Jan-Feb;61(1)8-30. Epub Jan 4 2011.

DeSantis C, Howlader N, Cronin KA, Jemal A. Breast cancer incidence rates in US women are no longer declining. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers and Prev. May;20(5):733-9. 2011. Epub Feb 28 2011.

Hao Y, Landrine H, Jemal A, Bayakly AR, Young FL, Flanders WD, Ward EM. Race, neighborhood characteristics, and disparities in chemotherapy for colorectal cancer. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 65(3)211-17. Epub first December 3, 2009, final August 13, 2010.

Jemal A, Bray F, Center MM, Ferlay J, Ward EM, Forman D. Global cancer statistics. CA: Cancer J Clin. Mar-Apr;61(2):69-90. 2011. Epub 2011 Feb 4. Erratum in: CA Cancer J Clin. 2011 Mar-Apr;61(2):134.

Jemal A, Thun MJ, Xue QY, Hartman AM, Cokkinides V, Center MM, Ross H, Ward EM. Changes in smoking prevalence among U.S. adults by state and region: Estimates from the Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey, 1992-2007.BMC Public Health.11(1):512. 2011.

Kohler BA, Ward EM, McCarthy BJ, Schymura MJ, Ries LAG, Eheman C, Jemal A, Anderson RN, Ajani UA, Edwards BK. Annual Report to the Nation on the status of cancer, 1975-2007, Featuring tumors of the brain and other nervous system. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. May 4;103(9):714-36. 2011. Epub Mar 31 2011.

DeSantis C, Jemal A, Ward EM. Disparities in breast cancer prognosis factors by race, insurance status, and education. Cancer Causes Control. Sep;21(9):1445-50. 2010. Epub 2010 May 27.

Edwards BK, Ward EM, Kohler BA, Eheman C, Zauber A, Anderson RN, Jemal A, Schymura MJ, Landsdorp-Vogelaar I, Seeff LC, Van Ballegooijen M, Goede SL, Ries LAG. Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2006, Featuring Colorectal Trends and Impact of Interventions (Risk Factors, Screening, and Treatment) to Reduce Future Rates. Cancer.116:544;73. 2010. Epub December 7, 2009.

Jemal A, Ward EM, Thun MJ. Declining death rates reflect progress against cancer. PLoSONE. Mar 9;5(3):e9584. 2010.

Jemal A, Siegel R, Xu J, Ward EM. Cancer Statistics, 2010. CA Cancer J Clin. 2010. Epub July 7, 2010.

Jemal A, Center MM, DeSantis C, Ward EM. Global patterns of cancer incidence and mortality rates and trends. Cancer Epid Biomarkers Prev. Aug;19(8):1893-907. 2010. Epub July 20, 2010.

Jemal A, Center MM, Ward EM. The convergence of lung cancer rates between Blacks and Whites under the age of 40, United States. Cancer Epid Biomarkers Prev.3349-52. 2009.

Roche LM, Wu XC, Chen V, Hamilton-Byrd E, GrovesFD, Jemal A, Martin HJ, McLaughlin CC. Cutaneous melanoma incidence and survival among black, Asian and Pacific Islander, and white populations in the United States. Clinical Medicine Insights: Dermatology.3 1-10. 2010.

Thun MJ, Delancey JO, Center MM, Jemal A. Ward EM. The global burden of cancer: priorities for prevention. Carcinogenisis. Jan;31(1):100-10. 2010. Epub 2009 Nov 24.

Thun MJ, Jemal A, Ward EM. Global cancer incidence. In: DeVita VT, Hellman S, Rosenberg SA, eds. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology, 9th edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, PA. 2010.

Thun MJ, Jemal A, Desantis C, Blackard B, Ward EM. An overview of the cancer burden for primary care physicians. Prim Care. 36: 439-54. 2009.

Ward EM, Jemal A, Chen A. Increasing incidence of thyroid cancer: is diagnostic scrutiny the sole explanation? Future Oncol 6:185-188. 2010.

Wolf AM, Wender RC, Etzioni RB, Thomson IM, D'Amico AV, Volk RJ, Brooks DD, Dash C, Guessous I, Andrews K, DeSantis C, Smith RA; American Cancer Society Prostate Cancer Advisory Committee. American Cancer Society guideline for the early detection of prostate cancer: update 2010. CA Cancer J Clin. Mar-Apr;60(2):70-98. 2010.

Center MM, Jemal A, Ward EM. International trends in colorectal cancer incidence rates. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009;18(16):1688-94.

Chen AY, Jemal A, Ward EM. Increasing incidence of differentiated thyroid cancer in the United States, 1988-2005. Cancer. 2009;115(16):3801-07.

Cokkinides V, Bandi P, McMahon C, Jemal A, Glynn T, Ward EM. Tobacco control in the United States - recent progress and opportunities. CA Cancer J Clin. 2009;59;352-365.

DeLancey JO, Thun MJ, Jemal A, Ward EM. Recent trends in Black-White disparities in cancer mortality. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 Nov;17(11):2908-12.

Gallagher CM, Goovaerts P, Jacquez GM, Hoa Y, Jemal A, Meliker JR. Racial disparities in lung cancer mortality in U.S. congressional districts, 1990-2001. Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology. 2009;1(2):41-47.

Gansler T, Jemal A. Axillary lymphatic disruption does not increase risk of breast carcinoma. Breast J. 2009;15(4):438-39.

Hao Y, Jemal A, Zhang X, Ward EM. Trends in colorectal cancer incidence rates by age, race/ethnicity, and indices of access to medical care, 1995-2004 (United States). Cancer Causes Control. 2009; 20:1855–1863.

Jemal A, Center MM, Ward E, Thun M J. Cancer occurrence. Methods Mol Biol . 2009;471:3-29, 2009.

Jemal A, Siegel R, Ward EM, Hao Y, Xu J, Thun MJ. Cancer statistics, 2009. CA Cancer J Clin. 2009;59(4):225-49.

Siegel RL, Jemal A, Ward EM. Increase in incidence of colorectal cancer among young men and women in the United States. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009;18(6):1695-98.

Siegel R, Jemal A, Thun MJ, Hao Y, Ward EM. Trends in the incidence of colorectal cancer in relation to county-level poverty among Blacks and Whites from 1992 through 2004. JNMA. 2008;100(12):1441-44.

Thun MJ, Jemal A, Desantis C, Blackard B, Ward EM. An overview of the cancer burden for primary care physicians. Prim Care. 2009;36(3):439-54.