American Association for Clinical Chemistry
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June 2011 Clinical Laboratory News: News Brief

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June 2011: Volume 37, Number 6

Cancer-related Deaths on the Decline

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the percentage of cancer-related deaths from 2003–2007 in the U.S. continued to decline in both men and women.

For the first time since cancer statistics have been monitored, lung cancer death rates decreased in women, more than a decade after rates began dropping in men, according to the CDC’s “Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975–2007.” The report took an in-depth look at how race, sex, and age influence a person’s chances of developing certain cancers.

According to the CDC data, since the early 1990s cancer deaths have been dropping steadily among both men and women. The combined incidence rates for all types of cancers decreased on average a little less than 1% per year between 2003 and 2007. But the data show differences in cancer rates between men and women, as well as ethnic differences.

Top Cancers

Estimates from the report’s new data found that incidence rates decreased for lung, colorectal, mouth and throat, stomach, and brain cancers among men, but increased for kidney, pancreas, and liver cancers, and melanoma. The report found that black men had the highest incidence and death rates.

For women, incidence rates decreased for breast, lung, colorectal, uterine, cervical, bladder, and mouth cancers, but increased for kidney, pancreas, and thyroid cancers, leukemia, and melanoma. White women had the highest incidence rates, but black women had the highest death rates.

The report also looked at childhood cancer rates, finding a slight increase. However, death rates in this population (birth to age 19) continued to decrease. The agency says the decrease in cancer incidence and mortality reflects progress in cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment.

The full report is available online.