BETHESDA, MarylandNewly released data show that the
nation’s mortality rate for all cancers combined, which declined between 1994
and 1998, remained stable from 1998 through 2000. However, the mortality rate
for the four leading malignancies in the United Stateslung, female breast,
prostate, and colorectalcontinued to decline in the late 1990s, according to
the "Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2000."
Mortality for cancer of the lung and bronchus dropped 25%
for both sexes of all ages and races in the 5-year span 1996 to 2000, followed
by prostate (19.8%), breast (17.6%), and colorectal (11.8%). Death rates for
the four cancers declined in most states as well as nationally.
The overall cancer incidence essentially continued to
plateau at the level reached in the mid-1990s, although a slight increase
occurred between 1995 and 2000 that was not statistically significant. The
newest data show that an increase in breast cancer incidence among women and
prostate cancer in men offset a continuing long-term decrease in the incidence
of male lung cancer.
The annual report on cancer statistics is a collaborative
effort of the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), the National Cancer Institute, and the North American
Association of Central Cancer Registries. The 2003 report includes incidence
data from 34 statewide cancer registries that cover 68% of the US population,
up from 55% in 2002. Mortality data came from state vital statistics offices
consolidated by CDC’s National Vital Statistics System.
Each year, the report highlights the cancer statistics
related to the four major cancers, which account for about 50% of the nation’s
cancer burden. Findings include:
Lung: Mortality continued to decrease among men, and
the rate of increase slowed among women.
Breast: Death rates continued to decline in spite of
a gradual increase in the rate of new diagnoses. The decline is attributed, at
least in part, to the increase in screening mammography and improved access to
treatment. However, death rates remained substantially lower for white women
than for black women. The highest rate of increase in breast cancer incidence
since the late 1970s has occurred in the 65 to 74 age group.
Prostate: Mortality has declined since 1994. However,
incidence has risen since 1995as the result of an increase in the diagnosis
of localized diseaseat an annual rate of 3.0% for white men and 2.3% for
black men. The incidence of other stages of prostate cancer has continued to
Colorectal: Death rates began declining for both
whites and blacks in the 1970s, and in the mid-1980s the decrease accelerated.
However, white men and women continued to show a greater decrease in mortality
than black men and women. Incidence rates have remained stable since 1996 for
all men and women.
The incidence of other cancers between 1995 through 2000for
both sexes and all ages and racesincluded declines in oral cavity and
pharynx (9.3%), leukemia (7.3%), cervix (6.0%), corpus and uterus (4.9%),
non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (4.8%), pancreas (4.1%), stomach (3.4%), ovary (1.9%),
and brain (0.8%). Cancer with increased incidence for the same period included
melanoma (4.4%) and urinary bladder (4.5%).
While most cancers showed a drop in mortality, the rate for
pancreatic cancer rose 7.3%.
Both incidence and mortality rates varied considerably among
racial and ethnic groups. For example, lung cancer incidence and mortality
rates per 100,000, respectively, were 63.2 and 56.7 for whites; 81.2 and 66.4
for blacks; 43.2 and 28.5 for Asians and Pacific Islanders; 33.1 and 37.2 for
American Indians and Alaskan Natives; and 33.2 and 25.8 for Hispanics.
For female breast cancer, incidence ranged from 140.8 for
whites to 58.0 for American Indians and Alaska Natives, and mortality ranged
from 35.9 for blacks to 12.5 for Asians and Pacific Islanders.
Prostate cancer incidence ranged from 272.1 for blacks down
to 53.6 in American Indians and Alaska Natives, while mortality ranged from
73.0 in blacks to 13.9 in Asians and Pacific Islanders.