Monday, October 15, 2007

Cancer rates falling

It's not very often that the press reports good news. So, I'm giving credit where credit is due. Reuters is reporting today that death rates from cancer (in the United States) are continuing to fall compared to previous studies.
They found important declines in deaths from lung, prostate and colorectal cancers in men, as well as in breast and colon cancer among women. Lung cancer deaths were still on the rise among women but this increase slowed, according to the report.

The annual decline in cancer death rates from 2002 to 2004 was nearly twice the decrease of 1.1 percent per year from 1993 through 2002.
This is definitely great news. A lot of work from a lot of different people and a variety of different organizations helped make this possible.

What will be interesting to watch now is these different organizations - whether they be government agencies, private sector research firms, patient advocate organizations, or others - take credit for this work (which they should) and fight for government budget dollars, private foundation dollars, and your public donation dollars (you can already see this at the end of this Reuters article). Let the games begin!


Margaret Polaneczky, MD (aka TBTAM) said...

This is indeed good news, particularly the colon cancer news. We really need to get more folks out for their colonoscopies.

The Curmudgeon said...

Doc -- this might be good news. And I say that as someone, you may recall, who's had a diagnosis of colon cancer just this year (and I'm in the good news category) --

Here's my question: It seems like everyone and their brother and sister and second cousin has cancer at the moment. I know part of it is my advancing age -- but, for cryin' out loud, I'm not that old.

And even if we assume that, as the population grows older the incidence of cancer will increase, doesn't it seem that cancer -- especially colon cancer and breast cancer -- seems to be increasing... exponentially?

What do the professionals say?

Dr. A said...

Curmudgeon - Thanks for your question. I did some searching around on the National Cancer Institute site and found this PDF file for you - "Over the past decade, colorectal cancer incidence (meaning diagnosis) and mortality rates have modestly decreased or remained level." As far as all cancers, I couldn't find a good chart on this. But I encourage you to check out the NCI site, it has a lot of great information.