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Progress shown in death rates from four leading cancers decline in overall mortality has slowed

Death rates from the four most common cancers lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal continued to decline in the late 1990s according to new data from the "Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2000." For all cancers combined, the death rate began to stabilize in the late 1990s, showing neither an increase nor a decrease, while the incidence rate (newly diagnosed cases) began to stabilize in the middle of the decade.

The report concludes that further reductions in cancer can be achieved but will require strong federal, state, local, and private partnerships to apply evidence-based cancer control measures such as screening for colorectal cancer that reach all segments of the population. Analyses of the findings, including new data from the states, also highlight the need for improved delivery of quality cancer care, as well as the development of more effective treatment and screening strategies.

Cancer incidence rates for all types of cancers combined increased from the mid-1970s through 1992, declined from 1992 to 1995, and then stabilized from 1995 to 2000 (there was a slight increase from 1995 to 2000, but it was not statistically significant*). In this most recent time period, an increase in breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men was offset by a long-term decrease in lung cancer in men.

Overall death rates increased through 1990, stabilized through 1994, and declined from 1994 through 1998 before becoming stable from 1998 through 2000. There were continuing small declines in death rates for men, but death rates for women have been stable through the late 1990s.

"This report shows that we have made some progress in reducing the burden of cancer in the United States, but much still needs to be done to reach the Healthy People 2010 goals -- including wider application of what science has shown to be effective in preventing, screening, and treating cancer," said Centers for Disease Control
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Contact: NCI Press Officers
ncipressofficers@mail.nih.gov
301-496-6641
NIH/National Cancer Institute
2-Sep-2003


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