CANCER: State Health Department Says Numbers Down
The incidence of cancer and deaths from cancer in California are declining at rates faster than those of the nation, according to a new report from the California Department of Health Services. From 1988 to 1995, new cancer cases in women decreased 8% and deaths 9%, while for men new cases decreased 12% and deaths 11%. The report found the overall cancer death rate declined about 1.4% each year from 1988 to 1995 -- versus 0.5% nationally -- with 51,216 Californians dying of cancer in 1995. Cancer incidence rates declined significantly for 10 of the 25 most commonly diagnosed cancers (the first six of which are associated with tobacco use): pancreas, stomach, lung and bronchus, oral cavity and pharynx, urinary bladder, larynx, ovary, brain, colon and rectum and leukemia.
According to the health department, lung cancer accounts for one out of every seven cancer diagnoses, and one out of every four cancer-related deaths. "We are just beginning to see the long-term impact of the reduction in tobacco use in California. Lung cancer incidence rates are beginning to decline for women and ethnic groups, as well as for white males, for whom lung cancer rates have been declining since the late 1980s," said Kim Belshe, state health director. "We can be proud of our efforts to curb the epidemic of tobacco use," she continued.
Between The Sexes
Breast cancer continues to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women, with 21,474 cases reported in 1995. However, the breast cancer mortality rate declined significantly by 2.2% annually for all ethnic groups. There were 16,993 new prostate cancer cases in 1995 -- 1,500 fewer than the year before. After increasing dramatically for several years following the introduction and use of the prostate-specific antigen screening test in the late 1980s, the prostate cancer incidence rate in 1995 was the same as it was in 1990. The data are based on cases reported to the California Cancer Registry as of January 1998, and on deaths reported by the California Department of Health Services Center for Health Statistics (release, 4/6).