Cancer Survival Rates Vary by Country
Study Shows U.S., Japan, and France Have Highest Cancer Survival Rates
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Cancer Survival: A Closer Look at the U.S. continued...
Patients in New York City had the lowest survival rates for all four cancers
except rectal cancer in both men and women. For those, patients in Wyoming had
the lowest survival rate.
A racial gap in survival was evident, with white patients more likely than
blacks to survive, especially breast cancer. "The
comparison is confirmed right across the USA, in all 16 states," Coleman
says of the racial gap.
For the study, the researchers estimated relative survival, adjusting for
such factors as wide differences in death rates from country to country and for
Cancer Survival Study: Second Opinion
"This is a very good way of presenting data worldwide, using the same
method of analysis," says Ahmedin Jemal, PhD, strategic director for cancer
occurrence for the American Cancer Society, who reviewed the study for
The state-by-state differences in cancer survival rates do not surprise him,
he says. "Previous studies have shown differences in treatment for breast
cancer, for example, across states." Differences in screening have also
been detected, he says, with the percentage of women getting regular
mammograms, found to vary widely from state to state.
Coleman and Jemal hope the study results will motivate public health policy
makers. "What is required here on a policy level is understanding why those
differences occur and remedying those differences so the entire population can
benefit from the improvement," Coleman says.
Within the U.S., Jemal says, he is hopeful the report will motivate cancer
control program organizers at the state level. Policymakers in a state with
lower cancer survival rates could consult with neighboring state policymakers
with higher survival rates and adopt some of their programs, he says.
The study is published early online and in the August edition of The
Lancet Oncology. Funding was provided by the CDC, the Department of Health
in London, and Cancer Research UK in London.