The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, covering the period 1975, showed death rates for lung cancer, which accounts for more than one in four cancer deaths, dropping at a faster pace than in previous years. The recent larger drop in lung cancer deaths is likely the result of decreased cigarette smoking prevalence over many years, and is now being reflected in mortality trends. The lung cancer death rate decline, as well as declines in colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer death rates, has also helped drive decreases in death rates for all cancers types combined, a trend that began about 20 years ago. The decreased death rates for these four cancers accounted for more than two-thirds of the overall reduction in cancer death rates in the period 2001-2010. The report showed, however, that death rates increased for some cancers, including cancers of the liver and pancreas for both sexes, cancers of the uterus in women, and, in men only, melanoma of the skin and cancers of the soft tissue in this 10 year period.
The special feature of this year's Report highlights the prevalence of other disease conditions, (diabetes, chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, and 13 others) in cancer patients over 65 years of age, and how they affect survival. Studying comorbid conditions is especially important because cancer is primarily a disease of aging and the prevalence of comorbidities also increases with age. Comorbidity is defined as having two or more medical conditions at the same time. The report shows that one-third of patients in this study population have comorbidities, with a higher frequency of comorbidities in patients with lung or colorectal cancer, and that survival is influenced by the presence of other medical conditions as well as the type of cancer, stage at diagnosis, and age.
The Report, produced annually since 1998, is co-authored by researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) which is part of the
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NIH/National Cancer Institute