Death rates from all cancers combined for men, women, and children continued to decline in the United States between 2004 and 2008, according to the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2008. Overall cancer incidence rates among men decreased by an average of 0.6% per year between 2004 and 2008. Overall cancer incidence rates among women declined 0.5% per year from 1998 through 2006, with rates leveling off from 2006 through 2008.
The report is coauthored by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, the National Cancer Institute, and the American Cancer Society. It was published online in the journal Cancer.
The effects of excess weight and lack of physical activity on cancer risk were highlighted in a special section in the report. Esophageal adenocarcinoma, cancers of the colon and rectum, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, endometrial cancer, and breast cancer among postmenopausal women are associated with being overweight or obese. Several of these cancers also are associated with not being sufficiently physically active.
Impact of Unhealthy Behaviors
“This report demonstrates the value of cancer registry data in identifying the links among physical inactivity, obesity, and cancer,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, MD. “It also provides an update of how we are progressing in the fight against cancer by identifying populations with unhealthy behaviors and high cancer rates that can benefit from targeted, lifesaving strategies, and interventions to improve lifestyle behaviors and support healthy environments,” Dr. Frieden said.
Since the 1960s, tobacco use has declined by a third while obesity rates have doubled, significantly impacting the relative contributions of these factors to the disease burden. Excess weight and lack of sufficient physical activity have been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis, as well as many cancers. ■
1. Eheman, C, Henley SJ, Ballard-Barbash R, et al: Annual Report to the Nation on the status of cancer, 1975-2008, featuring cancers associated with excess weight and lack of sufficient physical activity. Cancer. March 28, 2012 (early release online).