Death rates from all cancers combined for men, women, and children continued to decline in the United States between 2004 and 2008, according to the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975 to 2008. The overall rate of new cancer diagnoses (or incidence) among men had decreased by an average of 0.6% per year between 2004 and 2008. Overall cancer incidence rates among women declined 0.5% per year from 1998 to 2006 with rates leveling off from 2006 to 2008. The Report was coauthored by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, the National Cancer Institute, and the American Cancer Society.
The Report appeared in print in the May 2012 issue of the journal CANCER. The special feature section highlights the effects of excess weight and lack of physical activity on cancer risk. Esophageal adenocarcinoma, cancers of the colon and rectum, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, endometrial cancer, and breast cancer among postmenopausal women are associated with being overweight or obese. Several of these cancers also are associated with not being sufficiently physically active. For more than 30 years, excess weight, insufficient physical activity, and an unhealthy diet have been second only to tobacco as preventable causes of disease and death in the United States. However, since the 1960s, tobacco use has declined by a third while obesity rates have doubled, significantly impacting the relative contributions of these factors to the disease burden. Excess weight and lack of sufficient physical activity have been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis, as well as many cancers.
The Report was first issued in 1998. In addition to drops in overall cancer mortality and incidence, this year’s report also documents the second consecutive year of decreasing lung cancer mortality rates among women. Lung cancer death rates in men have been decreasing since the early 1990s. The Report notes that continued progress against cancer in the United States will require individual and community efforts to promote healthy weight and sufficient physical activity among youth and adults.
(Source: CDC, March 28, 2012)