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Making Sense of Key Cancer Reports

March 30, 2015, by NCI Staff

From 2002 to 2011 Cancer death rates declined for women, men, and children

Today, NCI, the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) issued the Annual Report to the Nation. This report is one of several regularly released reports that provide information on important cancer trends in the United States.

Although similar in some respects, each report may offer a different perspective—or uses different resources—to assess the U.S. cancer burden and to define the progress being made to alleviate that burden.

  • The Annual Report to the Nation, produced each year since 1998, provides a yearly update of cancer incidence (new cases) and mortality (death) rates, and trends in these rates in the United States. Each year’s report also includes a special section on an important cancer topic or trend; this year’s report highlights the incidence of breast cancer subtypes by race, ethnicity, poverty level, and state. The report incorporates data from several sources, including NCI's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, the CDC National Program of Cancer Registries, the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), and the NAACCR.
  • NCI’s Cancer Trends Progress Report, first issued in 2001, measures progress in prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, life after cancer, and end of life in relation to Healthy People 2020 targets set by the Department of Health and Human Services. This years’ report finds the death rate from all cancers combined continues to decline, as it has since the early 1990s. Measures for this report are selected based on scientific evidence and the availability of national—rather than state or local—data collection and analysis. Data for this report are obtained from a wide-range of systems and surveys with different collection techniques and reporting times. The report is updated annually and also as new data become available for incidence and mortality measures.
  • Cancer Facts and Figures is an annual ACS publication that estimates the number of new cancer cases and deaths for the coming year in an effort to provide insights into the contemporary cancer burden. In 2015 it is estimated that over 1,658,000 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States, and more than 589,000 people will die from their disease. The report relies on data from NAACCR, SEER, and the National Center for Health Statistics.
  • CDC’s Invasive Cancer Incidence and Survival focuses on estimates of U.S. cancer incidence and 5-year survival. The latest report shows that Healthy People 2020 targets were achieved in 37 states for reduced colorectal cancer incidence and 28 states for reduced cervical cancer incidence. The report includes incidence and survival data from CDC's National Program of Cancer Registries, SEER, and NVSS.
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