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J Natl Cancer Inst. 2003 Sep 3;95(17):1276-99.

Annual report to the nation on the status of cancer, 1975-2000, featuring the uses of surveillance data for cancer prevention and control.

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Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.

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  • J Natl Cancer Inst. 2003 Nov 5;95(21):1641.



The American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) collaborate annually to update cancer rates and trends in the United States. This report updates statistics on lung, female breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers and highlights the uses of selected surveillance data to assist development of state-based cancer control plans.


Age-adjusted incidence rates from 1996 through 2000 are from state and metropolitan area cancer registries that met NAACCR criteria for highest quality. Death rates are based on underlying cause-of-death data. Long-term trends and rates for major racial and ethnic populations are based on NCI and CDC data. Incidence trends from 1975 through 2000 were adjusted for reporting delays. State-specific screening and risk factor survey data are from the CDC and other federal and private organizations.


Cancer incidence rates for all cancer sites combined increased from the mid-1970s through 1992 and then decreased from 1992 through 1995. Observed incidence rates for all cancers combined were essentially stable from 1995 through 2000, whereas the delay-adjusted trend showed an increase that had borderline statistical significance (P =.05). Increases in the incidence rates of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men offset a long-term decrease in lung cancer in men. Death rates for all cancer sites combined decreased beginning in 1994 and stabilized from 1998 through 2000, resulting in part from recent revisions in cause-of-death codes. Death rates among men continued to decline throughout the 1990s, whereas trends in death rates among women were essentially unchanged from 1998 through 2000. Analysis of state data for the leading cancers revealed mixed progress in achieving national objectives for improving cancer screening, risk factor reduction, and decreases in mortality.


Overall cancer incidence and death rates began to stabilize in the mid- to late 1990s. The recent increase in the delay-adjusted trend will require monitoring with additional years of data. Further reduction in the burden of cancer is possible but will require the continuation of strong federal, state, local, and private partnerships to increase dissemination of evidence-based cancer control programs to all segments of the population.

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