October 15, 2007
Cancer Death Rate Decline Accelerating

The rate at which cancer death rates decline from year to year has has improved.

A new report from the nation’s leading cancer organizations shows cancer death rates decreased on average 2.1 percent per year from 2002 through 2004, nearly twice the annual decrease of 1.1 percent per year from 1993 through 2002. The findings are in the “Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2004, Featuring Cancer in American Indians and Alaska Natives” published online October 15, 2007 (www.interscience.wiley.com/cancer/report2007) and appearing in the November 15, 2007, issue of Cancer.

A featured special section provides the most comprehensive cancer data to date for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) across the United States. Cancer incidence rates among AI/AN men and women varied two-fold among six geographic regions of the country. From 1999 through 2004, AI/AN men from the Northern Plains region and AI/AN women from Alaska and the Northern and Southern Plains regions had higher cancer incidence rates than non-Hispanic white (NHW) men and women in the same areas.

Among the general population, the report shows that long-term declines in cancer death rates continued through 2004 for both sexes and, despite overall higher death rates for men, the declines from 2002 through 2004 were 2.6 percent per year among men and 1.8 percent per year among women. Death rates decreased for the majority of the top 15 cancers in men and women. Important declines were noted for the three leading causes of cancer deaths in men: lung, prostate and colorectal cancers. In women, deaths rates from colorectal cancer and breast cancer decreased, while the rate of increase for lung cancer deaths slowed substantially.

Progress does not run at a constant rate. At some point curing cancer is going to become easy. Looking at big mainframe computer boxes in the 1970s most would not have guessed what was coming. We now can do things with computers that give us enormous power. Microfluidic devices, built using technologies developed in the computer industry, are going to greatly accelerate the rate of advance in medical science and biotechnology. We will gain the ability to manipulate cells and components of cells with the precision needed to figure out and cure cancer. Just as the computer industry has gained the ability to manipulate smaller and smaller pieces of matter so will the biomedical industry.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2007 October 15 09:24 PM  Aging Treatment Studies

rsilvetz said at October 16, 2007 9:26 AM:

Statistical blip. No fundamentals have changed. The actual number of new therapies is actually declining, not increasing. While at the R&D level folks have all sorts of wonderful ideas nothing is getting past the FDA quantum barrier of $800 million to $1.2 billion. Plus, reporting the second derivative to claim success in the war on cancer smacks of spin.

Mirco said at October 17, 2007 4:42 AM:

People is able to travel. If the therapies will not be available in the US or in the EU, they could be available elsewhere. Then "elsewhere" will be a very popular place for people to go. This is happening in the EU, for example: Italy has strict laws for IVF, so Italians travel to Spain, Netherlands, Turkey to have the services they need and want.

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