Lung cancer continues to be the third most predominant type of cancer in the world today with only an 18% five-year survival rate, dramatically lower than prostate cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer. Those are the results of a recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which analyzed the incidence and survival of patients with several types of cancers.
According to the “Invasive Cancer Incidence and Survival – United States, 2011” report, lung and bronchus cancers affect 61 people in every 100,000, while the most predominant cancer type, prostate cancer, was found in 128 men among 100,000 individuals, and female breast cancer in 122 women out of 100,000. Colon and rectum cancers were also included in this list.
“These data are an important reminder that a key to surviving with cancer is making sure everyone has access to care from early diagnosis to treatment,” stated the director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Lisa Richardson, MD, in a press release. “We know, for example, that early detection of colorectal cancer has had the largest impact on long-term survival rates.”
The authors of the study noted that the results note persistent disparities in the incidence of different types of cancer. The rates are particularly high among men, when compared to women, as well as among the African-American community. Black patients had a five-year relative survival of 60% among all cancers combined, while white patients had a 65% rate.
CDC investigators analyzed data from the center’s National Program of Cancer Registries linked to cases of invasive cancers (defined as a cancer that spread from its primary place to surrounding tissues) during 2011, excluding urinary bladder cancer. Individual data by state revealed the incidence rates for all cancer sites, from 374 cases per 100,000 persons in New Mexico to 509 cases per 100,000 persons in the District of Columbia.
This was the first time the report included data on the survival rates of cancer, with lead author of the study Dr. Jane Henley, an epidemiologist in CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, emphasizing that the investigators “are pleased to include cancer survivor data in this report for the first time. We will review these data annually to track our progress.” In the case of lung cancer, the fact that less than 20% of lung cancer patients survive past five years compared with 97% 5-year survival rates in prostate cancer, 88% for breast cancer, and 63% for colorectal cancer underscores the need to accelerate novel treatments for treating the disease.