Lung cancer still number one cause of cancer deaths
NEW YORK, Jan 13 (Reuters Health) -- Lung, breast and prostate cancers will continue to be the top three cancer killers of Americans in the coming year, according to the report 'Cancer Facts & Figures 2000,' released by the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Overall, ``an estimated 1,220,100 new cancer cases and 552,200 deaths are expected to occur in the United States in 2000,'' according to an ACS statement.
Lung cancer will remain the number one cause of cancer death among both men and women, Cancer Society experts report, killing an estimated 156,900 Americans in the coming year.
However, experts note that between 1992 and 1996, lung cancer death rates ``declined significantly among men, while rates for women were still increasing.'' Decreases in male lung cancer deaths are probably linked to declines in smoking rates in men over the past three decades, according to the ACS. Overall, they say, ``an estimated 164,100 new cases of lung cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2000.''
Breast cancer will continue to be the second leading cause of cancer death among US women in 2000, claiming an estimated 40,800 lives. However, the ACS cancer experts note that breast cancer death rates ``declined significantly during 1992-1996 with the largest decreases in younger women.'' They credit the decline to ``earlier detection through mammography screening and improved treatment.'' The ACS now recommends that all women over 40 years of age undergo annual mammography screening.
Prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in men, is expected to take the lives of 31,900 Americans in 2000. Cancer Society officials estimate that 180,400 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed over the coming year, with rates for the disease remaining ``significantly higher in black men than in white men.'' Prostate cancer rates for all races grew ``dramatically'' in the 1990s, due to earlier detection via the use of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test screenings. The ACS now recommends that all men over 50 years of undergo annual prostate cancer screening involving PSA testing and digital rectal examination.
Other leading cancer killers include cancers of the colon & rectum (27,800 expected deaths in men, 28,500 expected deaths in women), pancreas (about 14,000 expected deaths in both men and women), ovarian cancer (14,000 expected deaths), and non-Hodgkins lymphoma (about 13,000 deaths in both men and women).
The ACS report also focuses on a few disturbing trends in terms of cancer prevention. First of all, the authors point out that ``although tobacco use in adults has slowed, youth tobacco use continues to increase.'' Tobacco has long been linked to cancers of the lung, mouth, esophagus, and other sites.
And they note that rates for breast cancer screening appear to vary widely across the country. For example, just 43.3% of Arkansas women over 50 years of age underwent mammography screening in 1999, compared with 72% in Massachusetts. Overall, just 58% of US women over 50 years of age had a mammogram last year.
Finally, the ACS believes that America's eating habits need improvement, as well. ``Less than one-quarter (23.7%) of adults reported eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day,'' according to the report. Many studies have suggested that low-fat, high-fiber diets can help prevent colorectal and other cancers.