Navigation Links
Drop in cancer deaths tied primarily to gains in behavior and screening
Date:12/2/2008

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Dec. 2, 2008 Improvements in behavior and screening have contributed greatly to the 13 percent decline in cancer mortality since 1990, with better cancer treatments playing a supporting role, according to new research from David Cutler of Harvard University.

While not the first to report a long-term decline in cancer mortality, Cutler's is the first study to examine the reasons for this decline. Published in the fall edition of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Cutler's paper, titled "Are We Finally Winning the War on Cancer?", looks at data for lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancer.

"The decline in cancer is much larger than we commonly understand," says Cutler, who is Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics in Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences, "and thus the benefits to society from reduced cancer mortality are even bigger than previously thought."

Cutler added that it had been unclear which of the many steps that have been taken to fight cancer have been most effective. In this research, he found that while reasons for the decline vary by type of cancer, screening and behavioral changes have contributed both equally and substantially.

Behavioral changes have had the greatest effect on lung cancer, Cutler says, where smoking cessation has had a tremendous impact. Other types of cancer have not been similarly impacted by the reduction in smoking. "The immense effort put into reducing smoking the past few decades has really paid off," Cutler noted.

In contrast, screening has proven especially effective in early detection of colorectal and breast cancer, but less so in identifying lung or prostate cancer. Colonoscopies also have a preventive value in removing polyps, and so preventing the formation of colon cancer.

"Among types of cancer where screening is valuable," Cutler says, "the question becomes: How can we increase the number of people who are being screened? Although costly, many types of screening are an enormous value."

Cutler found that treatment of cancer after its detection has been the least decisive of the three factors in cutting the cancer mortality rate.

"Drugs that are quite expensive have been shown to extend life by only a few months among patients with metastatic cancer, which raises questions about the relative value of such costly treatments," he says. "In contrast, while screening can be expensive, increased screening has led to significantly longer life expectancy for those diagnosed early with colorectal or breast cancer."

Cutler examined these four types of cancer because they are the most common, with abundant data on patient outcomes. Data was examined from population registries of individuals with cancer, as well as clinical literature about the effectiveness of behavioral changes, screenings and treatment.

"We typically think of the war on cancer as developing a new cure," says Cutler. "An equally important question is figuring out how we can take what we know and make it work for more people. We should think about the war as not just developing the next weapon, but using what we have in a smarter way. A health care system working for cancer would prevent people from getting it, catch it early, and then treat people accordingly. If our healthcare sys-tem was focused in this way, there could be a huge benefit."


'/>"/>

Contact: Amy Lavoie
amy_lavoie@harvard.edu
617-496-9982
Harvard University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. EIN News Introduces Prostate Cancer News Today; Website Offers Information on Risk Factors, Treatment, Drugs
2. EIN News Introduces Lung Cancer News Today; Website Offers Information on Risk Factors, Treatment, Drugs
3. USHIFU Announces First Sonablate(R) HIFU Device in India for Minimally Invasive Prostate Cancer Treatment
4. Preoperative radiation may improve survival rates in advanced rectal cancer patients
5. HER2 levels may aid in treatment selection for metastatic breast cancer
6. CT Colonography Screens for Cancer, Osteoporosis
7. Stanford blood scanner detects even faint indicators of cancer
8. CT Colonography Offers One-Stop Screening for Cancer and Osteoporosis
9. CT colonography offers 1-stop screening for cancer and osteoporosis
10. New mammography technology effective in detecting breast cancer
11. Escape cancer, but age sooner? The dark side of the tumor suppressing process
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The American Board of Family Medicine's (ABFM) ... and Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Dr. James C. Puffer upon his retirement. Dr. Newton ... until Dr. Puffer’s retirement at the end of 2018. Upon assuming the role of ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... ‘17, and Jennifer Huggins, PharmD ’17, along with clinical associate professor Janice ... of cardiovascular diseases during the 15th Annual Women’s Health Conference. The SIU ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Many families ... However, many long-term care insurance companies have a waiver for care if the client ... elimination period, when the family pays for care, is often waived, so the benefits ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th Annual Kids Fun ... NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, Jon Letko, is ... is geared towards children of all ages; it is a non-competitive, non-timed event, which ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... Software Development, has been awarded a contract by the Center for Medicare and ... aims to accelerate the enterprise use of Agile methodologies in a consistent and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/19/2017)... Sept. 19, 2017 HistoSonics, Inc., a venture-backed medical device company developing a non-invasive, ... tissues, announced three leadership team developments today:   ... ... ... Veteran medical device executive Josh Stopek , PhD, ...
(Date:9/18/2017)... 2017 EpiVax, Inc. ("EpiVax") a ... immune engineering, today announced a new NIH-funded ... ... and presents a challenge for traditional flu ... be effective. Using state-of-the-art bioinformatics and molecular modeling methods, ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... LAKES, N.J. , Sept. 12, 2017  Consumer reviews on ... Embrace Hearing as the number one company for hearing aids, ... ReSound™ and fifteen other brands. ... Embrace Hearing Named #1 by Consumers For Hearing Aids ... Embrace Hearing is an online store that provides ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: