Cancer Statistics In The United States
I would like to discuss how awareness has contributed to early detection and improvement in cancer survival statistics for some the most common cancers like breast, colon, prostate, and lung. In 2010, greater than 200,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed in the U.S.; approximately 39,000 women died. In women, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and second leading cause of cancer death. From 1999-2006, after awareness of the link between hormone replacement and breast cancer came out and many women reduced the use of estrogen, the incidence of breast cancer decreased 2% per year. There has been a decline in the breast cancer death rate starting in the early 1990's of approximately 10-12% due to a multitude of factors including prevention, early detection, and better treatment options.
Lung cancer is the first leading cause of cancer death in men and women. In males, the cancer death rate started dropping in 1990 after a good percentage of men stopped smoking because of the awareness between the link from smoking and lung cancer. Female statistics instead showed a rapid rise in lung cancer incidence and death increasing in the 90's and peaking in 2005. Finally, the incidence and death rate for lung cancer has started decreasing for women as well as per the national report that tracked the status of lung cancer from 1975-2007. In addition to smoke cessation, a large study with spiral CT's for screenings showed a 20% decrease in lung cancer mortality in the high-risk population.
A steady decline in mortality from colorectal cancer in males and females has occurred since mid 80's to early 90's. A major contributing factor to the decrease in mortality of colorectal cancer comes from screening colonoscopies. Unfortunately, only 50% of the population eligible for screening actually has a colonoscopy. Lifestyle changes with reduction of red meat, increase in fiber and improved therapeutic modalities have also contributed to decreased mortality rates.
Awareness of PSA screening as controversial as it may be has in fact contributed to a decrease in mortality from prostate cancer. The incidence and diagnosis of this cancer peaked in 1990 due to PSA screening. By 1995, mortality rates started to decline reaching 20% improvement by 2010 due to surgery, radiation and hormonal therapy.
Awareness of the risk factors, preventative measures and screening modality is very important in decreasing cancer mortality.