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BODY WATCH : CANCER : It's Still a Frightening Disease, but Clear Gains Are Being Made

October 18, 1994|SHARI ROAN

One in every five deaths in the United States is from cancer. But a closer look at statistics shows that clear gains are being made to reduce the incidence and death rates of certain types of the disease, while other cancers remain problematic.

The American Cancer Society's 1994 statistics are notable for the large jump in estimated new cases of prostate cancer--an increase of 21% over the 1993 rate. But this increase is most likely a result of more men undergoing a relatively new screening test--called prostate-specific antigen--to detect the disease early.

One bright light in the statistics is breast cancer, which shows no change from the 1993 estimates. Breast cancer still makes up 32% of all new cases of cancer in women, but officials say they are encouraged that the incidence rate has stabilized after years of steady growth.

Another promising statistic is lung cancer in men, which continues to drop as fewer men smoke. The lung cancer rate in women is still rising, although at a slower rate than seen in the 1970s.

1994 Estimated Cancer Incidence by Site in Men Melanoma of Skin: 3% Oral: 3% Lung: 16% Pancreas: 2% Stomach: 2% Colon & Rectum: 12% Urinary: 9% Prostate: 32% Leukemia & Lymphomas: 7% All Others: 12%

* Excluding basal and squamous cell skin cancer and carcinoma in situ.

1994 Estimated Cancer Incidence by Site in Women Melanoma of Skin: 3% Oral: 2% Lung: 13% Breast: 32% Pancreas: 2% Colon & Rectum: 13% Ovary: 4% Uterus: 8% Urinary: 4% Leukemia & Lymphomas: 6% All Others: 13%

* Excluding basal and squamous cell skin cancer and carcinoma in situ.

1994 Estimated Cancer Deaths by Site in Men Melanoma of Skin: 2% Oral: 2% Lung: 33% Pancreas: 4% Stomach: 3% Colon & Rectum: 10% Urinary: 5% Prostate: 13% Leukemia & Lymphomas: 8% All Others: 20%

1994 Estimated Cancer Deaths by Site in Women Melanoma of Skin: 1% Oral: 1% Lung: 23% Breast: 18% Pancreas: 5% Colon & Rectum: 11% Ovary: 5% Uterus: 4% Urinary: 3% Leukemia & Lymphomas: 8% All Others: 21%

* Source: American Cancer Society.

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