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:5/26/2017)... ... ... “When the Stars Lead Home”: a poignant story of loss, determination, and perseverance. ... an avid reader who lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, daughter, two ... Camp. She couldn’t be more grateful. , Twelve-year old Tizzy could not believe how ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 26, 2017 , ... Water damage to the flooring ... School District had left education officials with a number of critical issues to address ... flooring had to be accomplished with little or no disruption to class schedules. Second, ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... , ... May 24, 2017 , ... ... medical image management and interpretation, has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ... is a web-based, scalable and secure cloud platform for medical image management. At ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... , ... May 24, 2017 , ... Myers Jackson is ... has the ability to sell luxury homes anywhere on the planet. The luxury home ... side from Hattiesburg to Houston city-scapes. A quick search of “11 Spyglass Hill Auction ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2017 , ... If you are thinking of a visit ... interested in business architecture, October is the perfect time to visit. , Business Architecture Associates ... à la carte offering for individuals, as a 4-½ day package for individuals, and as ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2017)... Calif. , May 23, 2017  Leaf ... most innovative medical devices for pressure ulcer prevention, ... the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, National ... May 22-25. The Leaf Patient Monitoring ... specifically for the hospital environment.  The system seamlessly ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... , May 17, 2017  Bayer announced today that ... will be presented at the 53 rd Annual ... taking place June 2-6 in Chicago ... ASCO span prostate, colorectal, liver and thyroid cancers, as ... the Phase II CHRONOS-1 trial of copanlisib in patients ...
(Date:5/11/2017)...  Thornhill Research Inc. ( Toronto, Ontario, ... USD five-year, firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-quantity/indefinite-delivery contract by the U.S. ... (CCC) ( Ottawa, Ontario, Canada ) ... anesthesia to patients requiring emergency medical procedures in ... Corps have been a longtime partner with Thornhill ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: