The cancer death rate in the United States -- which has been slowly dropping since 1993 -- has fallen even more significantly in recent years, according to an annual report from the nation's leading cancer organizations.
Previous studies had shown cancer death rates in the US decreasing by an average of 1.1% a year from 1993 through 2002, a steady decline credited to the effectiveness of prevention efforts, new screening methods and wider use of early detection, and better treatments that have extended life expectancy after diagnosis. Those benefits appear to be accumulating more rapidly, with the latest report showing evidence that the decline in cancer deaths nearly doubled from 2002 through 2004, with an average decrease of 2.1% seen each year. Because death rates are considered the best indicator of progress against cancer, this encouraging trend gets top billing in the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2004, Featuring Cancer in American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Looking at the population as a whole, the report shows that cancer death rates have decreased for the majority of the 15 most commonly diagnosed cancers in men and women. This includes important declines in the 3 leading causes of cancer deaths in men -- lung, prostate, and colorectal cancers -- and in 2 of the 3 leading causes of cancer deaths in women -- colorectal cancer and breast cancer. Death rates from lung cancer, the number one cause of cancer death in both sexes, continued to increase in women, but at a substantially slower rate than in years past.
"The evidence is unmistakable: We are truly turning the tide in the cancer battle," said John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society. "
On the other hand, increased screening could be connected to an increase in incidence because more cancers are being found before they cause symptoms. That's what researchers think caused a jump in prostate cancer rates between 1988 and 1992.
Among the caveats and clarifications to consider in the latest statistics on cancer incidence:
For men, incidence rates for all cancers decreased by 4.3% per year from 1992 through 1995 and were stable from 1995 through 2004. But incidence rates of myeloma and cancers of the liver, kidney, and esophagus continued to increase for men through 2004.
For women, incidence rates for all cancers combined stabilized from 1999 through 2004 after years of increases. Still, the rates for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma, leukemia, and cancers of the bladder and kidney have been increasing for 29 years. Thyroid cancer incidence rates in women have been going up since 1980.
Lung cancer incidence rates in women stabilized from 1998 through 2004 following a period of long-term increase. In this case, incidence rates lag behind smoking patterns by several years. Smoking became more common among US women in the years after World War II, leading to higher lung cancer rates down the line. As anti-tobacco efforts have led to lower smoking rates, the increase in lung cancer incidence rates is leveling off.
Lung cancer incidence rates in men declined 1.8% per year from the period 1991 through 2004.
Colorectal cancer incidence rates decreased by more than 2.0% per year for men and women, likely due to prevention through the removal of precancerous polyps.
This month I'll do more research to this subject, as both women and men are exposed to breast cancer, and also, october happens to be the awareness breast cancer month...hope I kept you all healthy informed .Have a nice day!Carly