Rate Of US Cancer Deaths Decreased By 2.1%

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The rate of U.S. cancer deaths decreased by an average of 2.1%annually between 2002 and 2004, almost double the decline annuallybetween 1993 and 2002, according to a report released on Monday byseveral federal agencies and the American Cancer Society, USA Today reports (Davis, USA Today, 10/15).

Each year, researchers from CDC, the National Cancer Institute, the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries and ACS compile the "Report to the Nation" on cancer (Neergaard, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer,10/15). For the report, researchers examined cancer patient data fromnational registries and information on cancer deaths from bureaus indifferent states (Greve, McClatchy/Charlotte Observer, 10/15).

Thereport attributed much of the decrease in the rate of cancer deaths toa decline in the rate of colorectal cancer deaths, which decreased byalmost 5% annually among men and 4.5% annually among women between 2002and 2004. According to the report, new colorectal cancer diagnosesdecreased by 2.5% annually among men and women between 2002 and 2004,although only about half of individuals older than age 50 receiverecommended tests for the disease. In addition, the report found thatnew treatments for colorectal cancer have doubled survival times forpatients with advanced forms of the disease between 2002 and 2004.

The report also found that between 2002 and 2004:

  • The rate of cancer deaths among men decreased by 2.6% annually, compared with 1.8% among women (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/15);
  • The rates of cancer deaths among men for 12 of the 15 most common forms of the disease decreased annually;
  • The rates of cancer deaths among women for 10 of the 15 most common forms of the disease decreased annually (McClatchy/Charlotte Observer, 10/15);
  • Therate of lung cancer deaths among men decreased by 2% annually, and therate of deaths from the disease among women remained about the same; and
  • Therate of new cancer diagnoses among men and women decreased by 0.5%annually, and the rate of new breast cancer diagnoses decreased by 3.5%annually (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/15).

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Thereport found that American Indians and Alaska Natives in some areas didnot experience the same decrease in the rate of cancer deaths as therest of the population, in part because of higher rates of preventablecancers and cases of advanced forms of the diseases among the twopopulations (Grady, New York Times, 10/15).

Comments

CDC Director Julie Gerberding said that the decrease in the rate of cancer deaths "demonstrates important progress" (McClatchy/Charlotte Observer, 10/15).

ElizabethWard, a co-author of the report and cancer surveillance director atACS, said, "The concern we have is that much of the progress we'veattained in reducing death rates comes from tobacco control, screeningand access to timely and high-quality treatment, and those positiveeffects are not being seen in all populations in the U.S." (New York Times, 10/15).

BrendaEdwards, a co-author of the report and associate director of thesurveillance research program at NCI, said, "The death rates are thebottom line, and they tell you the benefit of many factors, fromtreatment to detection to changing lifestyles" (USA Today, 10/15).
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