A new report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows that overall death rates and cases of cancer declined in the United States during the 1990s. The study shows mixed results for women’s health, increases in lung cancer deaths among women and improvements in breast cancer detection.
Breast, lung, prostate, and colorectal cancer accounted for 52.7 percent of cancer deaths and 55.9 percent of all news cancer in 1998, according to the study, but the death rates for the top ten cancers were all level or declining. The one exception was the death rate for lung cancer among women. While the incidence of the disease seems to be declining, death from lung cancer among women is increasing. Scientists say that lung cancer among women, in terms of fatality, is following the same pattern as it did among men, and are hoping that, as women began smoking at a later age, that the fatality rate will decline as women smokers age. This report was released as the nation awaits information on the ongoing federal lawsuit against the tobacco industry, which has spent billions of dollars to target women in its ad campaigns.
More breast cancer was detected during the 1990s, scientists report, as a result of more aggressive screening among those women in the age group at the highest risk for the disease (50-74). Increased screening, oncology experts say, especially through mammography, will eventually result in fewer breast cancer deaths.