Cancer incidence and mortality trends among whites in the United States, 1947-84

J Natl Cancer Inst. 1987 Oct;79(4):701-70.


Cancer incidence trends from the late 1940s to 1983-84 were assessed among white residents of five geographic areas (Atlanta, Connecticut, Detroit, Iowa, San Francisco-Oakland) by means of data derived from several National Cancer Institute surveys, the Connecticut Tumor Registry, and the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. Incidence trends were compared with mortality trends for the entire United States and for the same five study areas. This study documented rising incidence and mortality rates for four cancers: lung cancer, melanoma of the skin, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. Increases in lung cancer continued through the early 1980s, but the rate of increase has been moderating during recent years, particularly among males and at younger ages for whom recent declines are evident. Overall, lung cancer incidence rates increased more than 220 and 400% among males and females, respectively. Although much rarer than lung cancer, melanoma of the skin and multiple myeloma increased greatly until the early 1980s among both males and females. The overall rate of increase in melanoma incidence among males was greater than that for lung cancer, and the rate of increase in multiple myeloma mortality among females was exceeded only by that for lung cancer. Increases of 70-120% were observed for non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. Increases in incidence and mortality rates for pancreatic cancer were apparent during the early years but less conspicuous in recent years. Laryngeal and kidney cancer rates generally increased substantially, although the changes were not remarkable for laryngeal cancer mortality among males and kidney cancer mortality among females. The rates for cancers of the mouth and pharynx increased among females but not males. Prostate, colon, and bladder cancer incidence rates increased more than 65% among males, whereas mortality rates changed only moderately. The incidence of thyroid cancer increased more than 75% among both sexes until the late 1970s, but mortality rates have declined during the period of study. Breast cancer incidence increased 30%, whereas mortality rates remained remarkably constant. The incidence of corpus uteri cancer increased dramatically during the mid-1970s and decreased substantially thereafter; these changes were not reflected in the mortality rates, which continually declined during the entire time period. The incidence of testicular cancer increased more than 90% and that of Hodgkin's disease did not change greatly; however, mortality rates for both cancers declined more than 50% since the late 1960s and early 1970s.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • European Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Sex Factors
  • United States