The American Cancer Society has helped publish the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2010. Here’s their summary of the results:
Death rates continued to decline for all cancers combined for men and women of all major racial and ethnic groups and for most major cancer sites; rates for both sexes combined decreased by 1.5% per year from 2001 through 2010. Overall incidence rates decreased in men and stabilized in women. The prevalence of comorbidity was similar among cancer-free Medicare beneficiaries (31.8%), breast cancer patients (32.2%), and prostate cancer patients (30.5%); highest among lung cancer patients (52.9%); and intermediate among colorectal cancer patients (40.7%). Among all cancer patients and especially for patients diagnosed with local and regional disease, age and comorbidity level were important influences on the probability of dying of other causes and, consequently, on overall survival. For patients diagnosed with distant disease, the probability of dying of cancer was much higher than the probability of dying of other causes, and age and comorbidity had a smaller effect on overall survival.
While death rates continue to decline for all cancers, there is still much work to do. For one new cancer case is too many, one more death from cancer is too much.
We hope you read the report with an eye to what you can do in the New Year in the war against cancer. Together we can help make cancer a thing of the past. What a report that will be!