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Karmanos' Chief Cancer Surveillance Researcher Discusses Study on Decreased Cancer Mortality Rates
Date:8/12/2009

cancer mortality rates have leveled off.

Dr. Graff anticipates seeing more decreases in deaths from smoking-related cancers with the newly-established Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which gives the FDA regulatory control of tobacco products production, sales and marketing.

"Lung cancer isn't the only smoking-related cancer," he said. "We'll see great prevention measures taken with this program."

Dr. Graff acknowledges that cancer will surpass heart disease as a cause of death in 2010, as presented by the World Health Organization, but that is because the rates of death due to heart disease have dropped so sharply in comparison to the drop in cancer mortality rates. The WHO statistic can be misleading, he said, considering that it studies proportional mortality, which is calculated in groups of 100 people.

Kort's new study examined the rates of cancer death by age and found that for people born since 1925, every age group has experienced a decline in cancer mortality. The youngest age groups have experienced almost 26 percent decline per decade, while the oldest group experienced an almost 7 percent decline per decade.

"Fewer people are dying of cardiovascular disease, but we're also seeing fewer people dying of cancer," Dr. Graff said. "We haven't won the battle on cancer, but we are certainly giving it the good fight."

Dr. Graff said that Karmanos Cancer Institute plays a key role in the continued decrease in cancer mortality rates, across all age ranges.

"We're a comprehensive cancer center and we contribute to that in our work in clinical trials and advancing the use of new therapeutics in cancer care," he said. "We're keeping people alive longer. We're decreasing mortality rates and we're increasing quality of life during the survivorship period."

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SOURCE Karmanos Cancer Institute
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