Recent trends in mortality rates for four major cancers, by sex and race/ethnicity--United States, 1990-1998

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2002 Jan 25;51(3):49-53.


In 1998, 53% of all cancer-related deaths in the United States were associated with four sites: lung/bronchus, colon/rectum, prostate, and female breast. Cancer-related death does not affect racial/ethnic populations similarly. In 1996, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) published cancer incidence and death rates during 1988-1992 in 10 categories of race/ethnicity. To examine trends during 1990-1998 in annual death rates for the four major cancers by sex and race/ethnicity (i.e., blacks, whites, Hispanics, American Indians/Alaska Natives [AI/ANs], and Asians/Pacific Islanders [APIs]), CDC analyzed data from the National Center for Health Statistics' National Vital Statistics System. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that, except for lung cancer in women and lung, colorectal, and breast cancer in AI/ANs, trends in death rates from these cancers have generally declined. But the rates remained high for blacks, have not decreased equally among all populations, and have increased in certain instances. Continuing research and prevention efforts are needed to reach high-risk and underserved populations and to understand the reasons for differences in cancer mortality among racial/ethnic populations.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Male
  • Mortality / trends
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Sex Distribution
  • United States / epidemiology