NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research NewsNCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
August 16, 2005 • Volume 2 / Number 33 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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Featured Article

Detecting Smaller Breast Tumors Contributed to Longer Survival Trend

A retrospective study of women diagnosed with breast cancer from 1975 to 1999 suggests that a trend toward detection of smaller tumors over those 25 years contributed to the improved 5-year survival rates during that period, according to a study published online August 8 in Cancer.

Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, led by Dr. Elena Elkin, reviewed data from NCI's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program for women initially diagnosed with nonmetastatic breast cancer with tumors that were either localized (limited to breast tissue) or regional (limited to nearby tissue or lymph nodes). More than 265,000 tumors were analyzed.

"Within each stage category, the proportion of smaller tumors [detected] increased significantly over time," the researchers noted. For example, the localized tumors smaller than 1 cm accounted for only 10 percent of patients diagnosed between 1975 and 1979, compared with 25 percent of localized breast cancers detected between 1995 and 1999. Similarly, among women with regional disease, the number of tumors found smaller than 2 cm increased from 20 to 33 percent during the same comparison periods.  Read more  

Director's Update

An Important Moment in the Battle Against Lung Cancer

In our daily efforts to understand and deal with the mysteries of cancer, there are moments that remind us of the urgency of the problem. The recent death of ABC News anchor Peter Jennings from lung cancer and the diagnosis of Dana Reeve, widow of actor Christopher Reeve, with the same disease have brought renewed public attention to the cruel reality that lung cancer kills 160,000 of our friends and family members each year. They remind us of the damage done by smoking, but also that the problem is more complex, and that smoking is not the sole cause of lung cancer. In addition to prevention, we must also urgently address earlier detection and better treatment.

We have had important successes against lung cancer. Effective antismoking programs are available, and we are testing more sensitive methods of detection, as well as learning more about genetic mutations that can improve our application of emerging targeted therapies for non-small-cell lung cancer. But the number of deaths tell us we must do more and do it rapidly.  Read more  


The NCI Cancer Bulletin is produced by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). NCI, which was established in 1937, leads the national effort to eliminate the suffering and death due to cancer. Through basic, clinical, and population-based biomedical research and training, NCI conducts and supports research that will lead to a future in which we can identify the environmental and genetic causes of cancer, prevent cancer before it starts, identify cancers that do develop at the earliest stage, eliminate cancers through innovative treatment interventions, and biologically control those cancers that we cannot eliminate so they become manageable, chronic diseases.

For more information on cancer, call 1-800-4-CANCER or visit http://www.cancer.gov.

NCI Cancer Bulletin staff can be reached at ncicancerbulletin@mail.nih.gov.