SEER Data Analysis Confirms Fall in Cancer Mortality

December 1, 1996
Oncology NEWS International, Oncology NEWS International Vol 5 No 12, Volume 5, Issue 12

WASHINGTON--An analysis from the National Cancer Institute, drawing on data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program (SEER) and from the National Center for Health Statistics, has found a 5-year decline of 2.6% in overall cancer mortality (see chart on page 1).

WASHINGTON--An analysis from the National Cancer Institute, drawingon data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program(SEER) and from the National Center for Health Statistics, hasfound a 5-year decline of 2.6% in overall cancer mortality (seechart on page 1).

The NCI report, scheduled for publication in early January, 1997,supports recent findings from the University of Alabama at Birmingham(UAB) (see article on page 1), showing a 5-year decline of 3.1%.

Noting the difference between the NCI and UAB estimates, RichardKlausner, MD, NCI director, said that the exact numbers are notas important as the fact that both analyses showed a significantand sustained fall in cancer mortality.

Among the findings of the NCI study:

The cancer mortality rates dropped more in males, who have thehigher incidence, than in females. Overall cancer mortality wentdown 4.3% in men during the 5-year span, with a decline of 8.7%in men under age 65 and a drop of 2.1% in those that age and above.Women had a fall of 1.1%, but mortality rate dropped 6.5% in thoseunder age 65 while rising 2.9% in women age 65 and older.

  • The largest mortality reductions occurred among blacks, withan overall decline of 5.6%, compared with an 18.3% jump between1971 and 1990. Black men saw a drop of 8.1%; the rate declined2.5% in black women. Among whites, the decline was 3.6% for menand 0.2% for women.
  • Breast cancer dropped 6.3%; the decline was 9.3% in womenunder age 65 and 2.5% in women that age and above.
  • Lung cancer dropped 6.7% in men; 13.8% for those under age65. In women, the toll dropped 4% in those under age 65, but rosea sharp 14.3% in women 65 and older.
  • Prostate cancer mortality declined 6.3%; the fall was 7.4%in men under age 75 and 3.8% in men 75 or more. White men hada greater drop than black men.
  • The cervical cancer death rate fell 9.7%.
  • Ovarian cancer mortality dropped 4.8%, nearly all of the declineoccurring in women under age 65.

"What we report today is not cause for complacency, but justthe opposite," Dr. Klausner said. "It is a demand forincreased commitment."

He noted that death from some cancers rose significantly duringthe period, even as overall mortality dropped. Lymphatic cancersin men (Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and multiplemyeloma) increased 4.1%. The NCI also found increases in braincancers and kidney malignancies.