Cancer is a major problem in the US, but a new study hints that perhaps, at least for certain types of cancer, rates may be dropping.
The new study focused on rates of invasive cancer, or cancer that spreads beyond the tissue in which it first developed. Such cancers include most cancers, except some skin cancers and urinary bladder cancer, that are beyond the earliest stage.
The researchers found that rates of invasive cancer in the US saw a slight drop between 2009 and 2010.
"Cancer has many causes, some of which can, at least in part, be avoided through interventions known to reduce cancer risk," explained the authors of this new study, which was led by S. Jane Henley, MSPH (Master of Science in Public Health), of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
To explore rates of cancer in the US during 2010, Henley and team looked at a variety of data sources and cancer registries, including the US Cancer Statistics, CDC's National Program of Cancer Registries, the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program and the National Vital Statistics System.
Henley and team identified 1,456,496 cases of invasive cancers that were reported to participating registries during 2010.
Using population data from the 2010 US Census, the researchers estimated that the rate of invasive cancers in the US during 2010 was 446 cases per 100,000 people. This rate was a slight drop from the rate of 459 cases per 100,000 people estimated in 2009.
Men were found to have a higher cancer rate than women in 2010, with estimated rates at 503 cases per 100,000 men and 405 cases per 100,000 women.
The cancers with the highest rate were prostate cancer (126.1 cases per 100,000 men), female breast cancer (118.7 per 100,000 women), lung and bronchus cancer (61.7 cases per 100,000 people) and colon and rectum cancer (40.4 cases per 100,000 people).
Henley and team noted that addressing cancer risk factors like tobacco use, lack of physical activity and infection with human papilloma virus (HPV), along with improving access to health care might help to drop cancer rates further.
Further research is needed as a number of factors, including changes in health care use or rates of cancer screenings, may have played a role in these findings.
This study was published March 27 in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. No conflicts of interest were reported.