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Lancet. 1994 Jan 29;343(8892):251-4.

Changes in prostate cancer incidence and treatment in USA.

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  • 1Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH.


We examined time trends and geographical variations in the detection and treatment of prostate cancer in USA, based on information from white men aged 50 to 79 who resided in areas covered by the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program of the United States National Cancer Institute. Prostate-cancer incidence and treatment rates were determined for the 9 population-based cancer registries which participate in the SEER program. Prostate-cancer mortality rates were assessed from data compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics. Prostate cancer incidence rates increased by 6.4% per year between 1983 and 1989. The increase appeared to be due to detection of early-stage disease; there was no increase in the incidence rate of metastatic cancer. Incidence rates varied widely among the SEER program areas: in 1989 from 267.9 per 100,000 in Connecticut to 606.8 in Seattle. Radical prostatectomy rates more than tripled between 1983 and 1989 in the SEER areas as a whole. Among men aged 70-79, the rate of prostatectomy increased by nearly 35% per year. There was a five-fold variation among SEER areas in radical prostatectomy rates in 1989, with a low of 43.4 per 100,000 in Connecticut and a high of 224.4 in Seattle. Prostate cancer mortality rates did not increase during the period of study; there was little variation among areas in prostate-cancer mortality rates, and no apparent correlation between the incidence and mortality rates for an area. Increases in rates of prostate cancer incidence and prostate surgery have occurred in the United States without clear evidence that screening and prostectomy are effective in reducing mortality. Moreover, much of the growth in incidence and radical prostatectomy rates has occurred among older men, who appear least likely to benefit from early detection and surgery of occult prostate cancer.

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