I was interested to see an article about the continuing declines in cancer death rates featured in the April 15 issue of The ASCO Post (page 94), as I have just published a paper on breast cancer mortality rates.1 Although overall breast cancer mortality rates have decreased significantly, a much smaller decline was seen in medically undeserved areas such as Appalachian counties (17.5%) compared with non-Appalachian counties in 13 Appalachian states (30.5%), and compared with non-Appalachian counties in the United States overall (28.3%). So I’d like to remind readers of The ASCO Post that there are probably enormous regional disparities in the decline of overall cancer mortality rates. ■
—Nengliang Yao, MS
Dept of Health Policy and Administration
College of Health and Human Development
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania
1. Yao N, Lengerich EJ, Hillemeier MM: Breast cancer mortality in Appalachia. J Health Care Poor Underserved 23:715-725, 2012.
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...