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Cancer Statistics – A Good News Bad News Story

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 10:25 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Toxic Substances

Cancer statistics show an improving picture overall in the number of deaths, but not as improved as a few years ago.


The good news- overall the death rate in this country from cancer has declined, a trend that began in the early 1990s.

The bad news – cancer will kill 565,650 Americans this year. That is an increase of more than 5,000 deaths over the improved picture of 2004 to 2005.

These statistics from a report written for the American Cancer Society and released Wednesday.

And while there has been a decline in the death rate from lung, colorectal, prostate, breast and other cancers in 2005 (the most recent year for numbers), the improved picture was not as good as 2003 and 2004. 

"We do not know why the declines in death rate from 2004 to 2005 slowed, compared to the previous two years," said Ahmedin Jemal, strategic director for cancer surveillance at the ACS. "But we can say that this occurred for almost all of the major cancer sites for men and women, which include colon and rectum in both men and women, breast cancer in women, and prostate cancer in men."

Heart disease still leads as the number one killer of men and women in the United States. Cancer death for men is second, but since peaking in 1990 it has fallen by 18.4 percent. Since the 1991 it has fallen for women by 10.5 percent.

Here is what the numbers show for men: 

  • In men, cancers of the prostate, lung, colon and rectum represent about 50 percent of newly diagnosed cancers
  • In younger men under the age of 40, leukemia leads as the most common cause of cancer death.
  • In men over 40, lung cancer is still the leading killer. 

For women: 

  • The most common cancers are breast, lung and colorectal.
  • For women ages 20 to 59, breast cancer kills the most women.
  • Over the age of 60, lung cancer kills the most women.  
  • For women under the age of 20, leukemia is the leading cause of cancer death.


Cancer rates are 19 percent higher, the death rate 37 percent higher among black men compared to white men.

  • Black women saw a six percent lower rate of cancers, but the death rate is 17 percent higher than for white women with cancer.
  • For children with cancer, the five-year survival rate has improved from 58 percent in the 1970s to 80 percent.

Trends aside, the actual number of people dying from cancer rose. 559,312 in 2005 compared to 553,888 in 2004. The reason the rates dropped is because the U.S. population grew and the rates are calculated per capita. 

Overall Americans seem to be getting the message about stopping smoking. Lung cancer deaths are falling in men but are only leveling off in women after an increase for decades.

Prevention, early detection and treatment are attributed to the improving picture for cancer deaths especially among colorectal, breast and cervical cancers.

Jemal added, "These have been decreasing from the early '90s and, really, because of this decrease, over half a million deaths from cancer have been avoided."

The report Cancer Statistics 2008 is published in the March issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, an annual report.

Dr. Louis Weiner, director of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University tells U. S. News,  that the improvement in the cancer death rate is the good news. 

“The bad news is that more than a half a million Americans can be anticipated to die of cancer this year. That’s equivalent to nearly the entire population of Washington, D.C., and losing more than the entire population of New Orleans in 2003. Viewed from that perspective, we have a long way to go.”  #



Anonymous User
Posted by Mary Maimer
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 1:38 PM EST

Ask the US military about chemtrails (biological warfare) and you will discover why 2004-2005 slowed the decline in cancers.

Anonymous User
Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 7:29 PM EST

Hi Mary-

I have heard of chemtrails and thought the evidence I saw was interesting. People should know that is the stuff that comes out of planes and leaves those white lines in the sky.
Care to elaborate?

Jane a.

Comments for this article are closed.

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