Background: The American Cancer Society (ACS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) collaborate annually to provide information on cancer rates and trends in the United States. This year's report updates statistics on the 15 most common cancers in the five major racial/ethnic populations in the United States for 1992-2002 and features population-based trends in cancer treatment.
Methods: The NCI, the CDC, and the NAACCR provided information on cancer cases, and the CDC provided information on cancer deaths. Reported incidence and death rates were age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population, annual percent change in rates for fixed intervals was estimated by linear regression, and annual percent change in trends was estimated with joinpoint regression analysis. Population-based treatment data were derived from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program registries, SEER-Medicare linked databases, and NCI Patterns of Care/Quality of Care studies.
Results: Among men, the incidence rates for all cancer sites combined were stable from 1995 through 2002. Among women, the incidence rates increased by 0.3% annually from 1987 through 2002. Death rates in men and women combined decreased by 1.1% annually from 1993 through 2002 for all cancer sites combined and also for many of the 15 most common cancers. Among women, lung cancer death rates increased from 1995 through 2002, but lung cancer incidence rates stabilized from 1998 through 2002. Although results of cancer treatment studies suggest that much of contemporary cancer treatment for selected cancers is consistent with evidence-based guidelines, they also point to geographic, racial, economic, and age-related disparities in cancer treatment.
Conclusions: Cancer death rates for all cancer sites combined and for many common cancers have declined at the same time as the dissemination of guideline-based treatment into the community has increased, although this progress is not shared equally across all racial and ethnic populations. Data from population-based cancer registries, supplemented by linkage with administrative databases, are an important resource for monitoring the quality of cancer treatment. Use of this cancer surveillance system, along with new developments in medical informatics and electronic medical records, may facilitate monitoring of the translation of basic science and clinical advances to cancer prevention, detection, and uniformly high quality of care in all areas and populations of the United States.