Background: The American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Cancer Institute, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries collaborate annually to provide updated information on cancer occurrence and trends in the U.S. The 2007 report features a comprehensive compilation of cancer information for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN).
Methods: Cancer incidence data were available for up to 82% of the U.S. population. Cancer deaths were available for the entire U.S. population. Long-term (1975 through 2004) and fixed-interval (1995 through 2004) incidence and mortality trends were evaluated by annual percent change using regression analyses (2-sided P < .05). Cancer screening, risk factors, socioeconomic characteristics, incidence data, and stage were compiled for non-Hispanic whites (NHW) and AI/AN across 6 regions of the U.S.
Results: Overall cancer death rates decreased by 2.1% per year from 2002 through 2004, nearly twice the annual decrease of 1.1% per year from 1993 through 2002. Among men and women, death rates declined for most cancers. Among women, lung cancer incidence rates no longer were increasing and death rates, although they still were increasing slightly, were increasing at a much slower rate than in the past. Breast cancer incidence rates in women decreased 3.5% per year from 2001 to 2004, the first decrease observed in 20 years. Colorectal cancer incidence and death rates and prostate cancer death rates declined, with colorectal cancer death rates dropping more sharply from 2002 through 2004. Overall, rates for AI/AN were lower than for NHW from 1999 through 2004 for most cancers, but they were higher for cancers of the stomach, liver, cervix, kidney, and gallbladder. Regional analyses, however, revealed high rates for AI/AN in the Northern and Southern Plains and Alaska. For cancers of the breast, colon and rectum, prostate, and cervix, AI/AN were less likely than NHW to be diagnosed at localized stages.
Conclusions: For all races/ethnicities combined in the U.S., favorable trends in incidence and mortality were noted for lung and colorectal cancer in men and women and for breast cancer in women. For the AI/AN population, lower overall cancer incidence and death rates obscured important variations by geographic regions and less favorable healthcare access and socioeconomic status. Enhanced tobacco control and cancer screening, especially in the Northern and Southern Plains and Alaska, emerged as clear priorities.