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J Clin Oncol. 2000 Jun;18(11):2258-68.

Declining cancer rates in the 1990s.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles 90033-0800, USA.



To provide evidence of a substantial decline in cancer rates for the period 1991 through 1995 and characterize major risk factors that seem to be driving secular trends in cancer mortality and incidence.


Incidence and mortality rates were calculated using national surveillance data collected through the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program and the National Center for Health Statistics.


All-sites cancer incidence and mortality fell in the period 1991 through 1995; this decline is largely attributable to decreases in the smoking-related cancers, especially lung cancer. Of the 20 leading incident cancers today, both incidence and mortality are decreasing among 11 sites for men and 12 for women. In men, the decline in mortality has been notable and is especially apparent for the smoking-related cancers, including those of the lung, oral cavity and pharynx, larynx, and, to a lesser extent, bladder. In women, all-sites mortality decreased only approximately 0.4% from 1991 through 1995. Three cancers continued to show substantial increases in mortality through 1995 for both men and women (liver, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma), while incidence rates continued to climb for liver cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and melanoma.


Data from the SEER program on recent trends in cancer incidence and mortality show that cancer rates are generally on the decline, largely because of reductions in smoking-related cancers. A consistent increase in mortality rates due to liver cancer poses a new health care challenge, one that will require the development of an effective treatment for individuals currently infected with hepatitis C or B to prevent mortality rates from continuing to increase.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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