Mar 18, 2011

Are We Finally Winning the War on Cancer?

From the article: Cutler, David M.. 2008. "Are We Finally Winning the War on Cancer?" Journal of Economic Perspectives, 22(4): 3–26.

Some facts:   

Between 1990 and 2004, age-adjusted cancer mortality fell by 13 percent.

Lung cancer (including cancer of the trachea and bronchus) is the leading cancer-related cause of death, accounting for 28 percent of cancer deaths.

The risk of developing lung cancer is 10 times higher among heavy smokers (people smoking 25 or more cigarettes per day) than among nonsmokers (this ratio is termed the relative risk).

Between 1990 and 2004, tobacco-related cancer mortality fell by 8 percent, accounting for 22 percent of the total reduction in cancer-related deaths over this time period.

Colorectal cancer mortality declined by 26 percent between 1990 and 2004, accounting for 22 percent of the overall reduction in cancer deaths, the same share of the reduction as tobacco-related cancers.

Breast cancer is the third leading cause of cancer mortality (second among women), accounting for 7 percent of all cancer deaths.

. . . [t]he reduction in lung cancer incidence is a result of reduced rates of smoking. Lung cancer incidence follows smoking trends (with a lag), and studies suggest that reductions in smoking can explain the bulk of trends in lung cancer incidence (Holford, Zhang, Zheng, and McKay, 1998).

[regarding colorectal cancer] the most important factor in reduced mortality is increased colonoscopy screening.
Another take on the war on cancer is in this TED video.

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