Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Top Cancers in the United States

Here are the most popular figures in general cancer epidemiology - a flavor of things to come for this blog. Please share ideas on what to show in the future.

Notice how deadly Lung, Pancreas , and Leukemia - comparing their incidence and mortality rates. It's interesting how little you hear about Pancreas, Ovary, etc - it's probably because the 5 years survival is so low that there is much less pressure to lobby for these diseases. Overall Men have a 1 in 2 chance of developing cancer in their lifetime, while Women have a 1 in 3 chance.

The jump in prostate cancer in the early 90s is due the PSA screening coming into the mainstream. PSA screening is still controversial today - it has not been proven to extend/save lives as of yet. With prostate cancer's five year survival rate of 99 percent, epidemiologists are asking: should we put putting men through this?
Male death rates over time - notice how lung how over-trumped them all due to tobacco use. The disappearance of stomach cancer is still a bit mysterious.

Lung cancer has recently become the number 1 killer for females, due to a later development of tobacco use. Breast and colon cancer, which diet is a major risk factor, are well ahead of the rest of the cancers


Demers said...

Sweet pics.
What's with the decline in stomach cancer? I never even heard of stomach cancer before. Is it being called a different thing today?
Also, what's with the rise in lung cancer? I was under the impression that smoking rates have declined over the past 100 years. The cigarette was invented way before the 1930s.

Demers said...

According to CDC, smoking rates have been dropping since they first started tracking the rate in the 1960s. From in the 40s then to now under 20%.

Dan said...

In terms of lung cancer - it takes many years (20-30+)to develop. So even though the smoking rate has be dropping slowly for the last 30 years, you're not going to see a difference in lung cancer rates until 30 years after that drop. Basically there is a 20-30 year lag in the graphs.

smoking actually became popular in WW2, so that generation was the first with higher lung cancer rates. interestingly enough the first literature against smoking came out at the same time from nazi germany.

i've seen some cool graphs on the change in smoking rates - i'll post them eventually.

in terms of stomach cancer - the drop is pretty mysterious. there isn't any better treatment now than there was years ago. it's hypothesized that the drop in H. pylori (a bacterim infection) has lead to the drop (becasue of use of refrigerators?). I don't think they categorize it differently now - it's sometimes called gastric cancer. it's actually still pretty prevelant in developing countries. it's the 4th most common cancer worldwide and 2nd largest killer after lung.

Demers said...

I'd really like to see the smoking rate in the early 1900s vs 1950 after all the GIs had been given cigarettes in the rations.

Fridges save us from stomach cancer, eh?