Risk of Having, Dying From Cancer Falling
Annual Status Report Shows Improvement in Cancer Survival, Prevention
June 3, 2004 -- The chances of Americans getting or dying from
most types of cancer have dropped in recent years thanks to advances in
prevention, early detection, and treatment of cancer, according a new
But researchers say not everyone is benefiting equally from
these cancer survival advances. Nearly every ethnic and racial group faces a
higher risk of cancer death than whites, according to the report.
The annual cancer status report released today shows overall
cancer rates dropped by 0.5% per year from 1991 to 2001, and death rates from
all cancers fell 1.1% per year from 1993 to 2001. In addition, the percentage
of cancer patients who survived more than five years after their initial
diagnosis has increased over the last two decades.
Researchers say one of the most notable findings of the report
is that lung cancer rates among women appear to be leveling off after
increasing for many decades. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death
among both men and women.
"This new report clearly shows we've made considerable
gains in reducing the burden of cancer in the United States," says John R.
Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, in a news
release. "The first ever drop in lung cancer incidence rates in women is
remarkable proof that we are making a difference in the number one cancer
Cancer Status Report Shows Progress
The annual cancer status report appears in the current issue of
Cancer and is a collaborative effort from the American Cancer Society,
the CDC, the National Cancer Institute, and the North American Association of
Central Cancer Registries. The report provides updated information on cancer
rates and trends in the U.S.
This year's report also highlights trends in cancer survival
and compared the five-year survival rates of cancer patients who were diagnosed
in 1975-1979 and 1995-2000. Researchers found survival rates improved
substantially for most of the top 15 cancers in men and women. Gains of more
than 10% in survival were seen in cancers of the colon, kidney, and
non-Hodgkin's lymphoma among both men and women as well as prostate cancer in
men and breast cancer in women.
But some of the largest gains were in childhood cancer
The report shows that survival rates for childhood cancers
increased by 20% in boys and 13% in girls. More than 75% of childhood cancer
patients currently survive at least five years beyond their diagnosis compared
with dismal survival rates in the 1960s when childhood cancers were nearly
Overall, researchers found that death rates from all cancers
combined have been decreasing since the early 1990s. Death rates decreased for
11 of the top 15 cancers among men and eight of the top 15 cancers in