|Annual Report to the Nation Finds Continued Declines in Overall Cancer Rates|
Rates of new diagnoses and rates of death from all cancers combined declined significantly for men and women overall and for most racial and ethnic populations in the United States, according to a report from leading health and cancer organizations.
Balintfy: Findings from the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer are showing overall cancer rates continue to be higher for men than for women, but men experienced the greatest declines in new cases, and death rates.
Dr. Edwards: We’re seeing declines for breast cancer in women, prostate cancer for men, and we’re also seeing declines in colorectal cancer.
Balintfy: Dr. Brenda Edwards, Associate Director for the Surveillance Research Program, at National Cancer Institute explains the scope of the report
Dr. Edwards: The Report to the Nation on Cancer is an effort by many people in the United States to put together one report that summarizes our latest data on who gets cancer, what happens to them when they get it, who is dying of cancer, where the patterns are.
Balintfy: She points out that rates for one major cancer site, lung cancer, are decreasing in men, but plateauing for women.
Dr. Edwards: Sometimes our data of the latest year doesn’t show anything too dramatic, but it just confirms that this year we’re seeing continued declines in cancer mortality overall and for many of the major sites. It also points out to us that the new cases of cancer that are being diagnosed, we’re seeing declines there.
Balintfy: Dr. Edwards says declines in cancer mortality, or reducing the rates at which people are dying of cancer is the bottom line. By looking at the details of the report, she sees mortality rates going down and explains its significance.
Dr. Edwards: It means that we are hopefully reducing risk. We’re finding effective ways to, perhaps for those that have screening, to find it early and then to move into the treatments that work. For others we may be looking at improved treatment for which we don’t have some early detection or we may not actually understand all the risk factors.
Balintfy: Other highlights from the report show that in men, incidence rates have also declined for cancers of the oral cavity, stomach, brain and rectum, but continue to rise for kidney, liver, and esophageal cancer, as well as for leukemia and melanoma. In women, incidence rates decreased for breast, uterine, ovarian, and cervical cancers, but increased for thyroid, pancreatic, and bladder cancers, as well as for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma and leukemia. Among racial and ethnic groups, cancer death rates were highest in black men and women, and lowest in Asian/Pacific Islander men and women. Dr. Edwards emphasizes that the report has lots of information.
Dr. Edwards: It shows us that cancer is a complicated disease, and it also, I think, provides a lot of information related to all the efforts that are going to actually improve or reduce the cancer burden in the U.S., and I think it also characterizes a lot of the work that’s going on in the research community, in the clinical community, and in those that are working to try to educate and inform individuals about what they can do to reduce their own risk or have access to care.
Balintfy: The report is authored by researchers from the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries. It is published online in the journal Cancer. For more information on the report and cancer research, visit www.cancer.gov. This is Joe Balintfy, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.