Cancer Deaths Decreasing

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Photo by Wlodi, courtesy of Flickr.com 

There’s good news and bad news for Louisianans in a recent report on cancer in the United States. For men, the good news is that lung cancer and the deaths associated with it are decreasing, but for women the rate of lung cancer continues to rise and so does the death rate.

     A well-researched paper, Annual Report to the Nation on the Status on Cancer, 1975-2005, Featuring Trends in Lung Cancer, Tobacco Use, and Tobacco Control, is for the first time reporting a decline in both cancer incidence and death rates in the U.S. One of the paper’s co-authors is Dr. Xiao Cheng Wu, an associate professor and the assistant director of the Louisiana Tumor Registry at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Public Health. The paper is a collaboration between the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.

     The report will be published on December 2, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and states that both incidence and death rates from all cancers combined are decreasing significantly in men and women overall and in most racial and ethnic populations. These decreases are largely driven by declines in the three most common cancers in men (lung, colorectum, and prostate) and in two of the three leading cancers in women (breast and colorectum), combined with a leveling off of lung cancer death rates in women. Although the national trend in female lung cancer death rates has stabilized since 2003, there is prominent state and regional variation. Lung cancer incidence and/or death rates among women increased in 18 states, 16 of them in the South or Midwest. California was the only state with decreasing lung cancer incidence and death rates in women.

     “Lung cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and leading cause of cancer death in Louisiana,” notes Dr. Wu. “Although lung cancer incidence and death rates are declining among Louisiana men, they still rank the fourth and fifth, respectively, in the nation. Among Louisiana women, lung cancer incidence and death rates continue to increase. Cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung cancer in the United States. To reduce risk of lung cancer, we have to reduce cigarette smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke.”

 

Some of the report’s other significant findings are:

 

• Overall incidence rates for all racial and ethnic populations combined decreased by 0.8% per year from 1999 through 2005 in both sexes combined, 1.8% per year from 2001 through 2005 in men, and 0.6% per year from 1998 through 2005 in women.

• Black men had the highest cancer incidence rate for 2001-2005 among all men and white women had the highest rate among all women.

• Among men, rates continued to decrease for lung and bronchus (lung), colon and rectal (colorectal), oral cavity and pharynx (oral cavity), and stomach cancers. For prostate cancer, rates decreased by 4.4% per year in the period 2001 through 2005 after increasing by 2.1% annually from 1995 through 2001. In contrast, rates increased for cancers of the kidney and renal pelvis (kidney), liver and intrahepatic bile duct (liver), and esophagus and for myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), and melanoma of the skin (melanoma). Incidence rates were stable for cancers of urinary bladder (bladder), pancreas, and brain and other nervous system (brain) and for leukemia.

• Among women, incidence rates decreased during the most recent joinpoint segments for six of the top 15 cancers [breast, colorectum, uterine corpus and uterus NOS (uterus), ovary, cervix uteri (cervix) and oral cavity]. Rates increased for the remaining 9 of the top 15 cancers (lung, thyroid, pancreas, bladder, kidney, brain, NHL, melanoma, and leukemia).

• Overall cancer death rates continued to decrease since the early 1990s in both men and women. Death rates decreased by 1.5% per year from 1993 through 2001 and 2.0% per year from 2001 through 2005 in men and by 0.8% per year rom 1994 through 2002 and 1.6% per year from 2002 through 2005 in women.

The entire report can be found here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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