What Cancer Epidemic? Rate of Cancer Diagnoses and Deaths Down Again

One definition of the word epidemic is "a rapid spread or increase in the occurrence of something." The good news is that is not happening with cancer in the United States. To be sure, cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the United States, but a new report by the National Cancer Institute confirms that overall cancer death rates continue to decline and that the incidence of cancer continues to fall for men and holds steady for women. From the press release:

The decline in overall cancer death rates continues a trend that began in the early 1990s.  From 2000 through 2009, cancer death rates decreased by 1.8 percent per year among men and by 1.4 percent per year among women. Death rates among children up to 14 years of age also continued to decrease by 1.8 percent per year. ...

Between 2000 and 2009, overall cancer incidence rates decreased by 0.6 percent per year among men, were stable among women, and increased by 0.6 percent per year among children (ages 0 to 14 years).

The report highlights the increased rates of cancer related to the human papilloma virus (HPV) which can be prevented by vaccination. HPV not only causes cervical cancer, but also mouth, throat and anal cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that both girls and boys be vaccinated against HPV. It's just plain stupid for parents to refuse to have their children vaccinated against this disease.

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  • Auric Demonocles||

    Why are men so much more likely to die from cancer? And why are they coming down so much faster?

  • robc||

    I can answer the second, I think. The types of cancers that are most common have cures found for them faster, due to more research.

    Since guys get cancer more often, the kinds of cancer they get are going to get more research dollars.

  • John||

    Because we don't put the same research and effort into treating cancer that effects men. It is really that simple. Every time I see some athlete with his pink ribbon on I wonder "don't men ever get cancer"?

    And I say this as someone who lost a mother to cancer.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I do find the fact that the NFL, a multi billion dollar industry where the workers are male and most of the audience is male, has a breast cancer month instead of a prostate cancer mouth weird.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Sure, but if there's one thing men love more than football, it's boobies.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah. No one wants to think about some old guy's asshole. Breast cancer is way better marketing.

  • C. Anacreon||

    It can feel weird too. I guess I belong on that graph; on Feb 14 of last year I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer along the lines of leukemia. It is presently incurable, though treatable -- and I hope to live a lot longer than the median seven years that is the present life expectancy for folks with the disease.

    It felt a little strange at times this season to watch football players wearing pink to support a cancer that has come so far and cure rates are high; I know several breast cancer survivors who are doing great. Lots of walkathons, charity events and commercial tie-ins for breast cancer. Multiple myeloma, not so much.

    But of course, breast cancer incidence is very high, and the second most common cancer is women; mine only hits about 30K new cases in the USA each year. Can't really complain too much when your illness is much more rare.

  • robc||

    John?

    Can you read the graph? Men's cancer rates are coming down FASTER than women's.

  • John||

    Sure I can read it. I just didn't. That said they are still higher.

  • robc||

    I just didn't.

    Maybe you should have, you would have given a more sensible answer.

  • John||

    Sue me.

  • BarryD||

    Because men don't work with so many carcinogens in the US, any more. Factories, mines, etc. could be pretty bad.

    Now, we let the Chinese get cancer.

  • $park¥||

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that both girls and boys be vaccinated against HPV.

    Good for them, gotta justify their position somehow.

    It's just plain stupid for parents to refuse to have their children vaccinated against this disease.

    Oh no, I didn't have my kids immunized for HPV. Are they gonna die? Wait, I wasn't immunized for HPV. Am I gonna die?

  • John||

    No. But if you have a daughter she might eventually. It is a free country. But I don't understand why you wouldn't get the vaccination. A lot of women have died or suffered through cervical cancer because of that damn virus.

  • Zeb||

    And genital warts aren't very nice either (not speaking from experience here, in case anyone is wondering). If there aren't bad side effects and it is reasonably effective, I don't see any problem with recommending it for everyone.

  • BarryD||

    No kidding. Why should young men want to get genital warts?

  • $park¥||

    She's almost 18, I'll let her decide. Aside from that, I'm just not interested in getting caught up in every health scare that comes along.

  • John||

    SPV is not really a health "scare" anymore than the measles is one. The science is to borrow a phrase, pretty settled.

  • $park¥||

    If it's not a scare, and it's settled science, why isn't it worked into the standard immunization battery yet?

  • John||

    Because the vaccine is only a few years old? They have known for decades that HPV causes cervical cancer. They have just now figured out how to prevent it.

  • Marshall Gill||

    You and your wife got the vaccination, didn't you, John?

  • John||

    Marshall, unless my wife plans to cheat on me or wants to become a swinger and just hasn't told me, there is no need for her to get the vaccine. The virus is only transmitted via sexual contact.

  • Marshall Gill||

    The virus is only transmitted via sexual contact.

    But children are physically unable to abstain from sex? How is this not a lifestyle disease?

  • John||

    Marshall,

    Children will eventually have sex. So it is a lifestyle disease to the extent girls don't join the convent and live average lives. I think it is a pretty good bet that most teenage girls will be having sex within the next few years.

  • robc||

    Children will eventually have sex. So it is a lifestyle disease to the extent girls don't join the convent and live average lives. I think it is a pretty good bet that most teenage girls will be having sex within the next few years.

    There is an advantage to lifetime monogamy.

    It saves you $360 in HPV vaccination bills.

  • John||

    There is rob. But few people live it these days.

  • Marshall Gill||

    I think it is a pretty good bet that most teenage girls will be having sex within the next few years.

    So since many girls have sex as teenagers we should assume that they all will?

    It is a pretty good bet that husbands and wives who are cheated on don't think they will be.

    All children, even all adults, don't have sex so only those who do would ever need the vaccine. As you point out, many people who are not promiscuous, also have no need for it. But give it to every child, just in case? If they come out with a vaccine for AIDS would you also recommend that for everyone? (except yourself, apparently)

    Because no one, ever, ever, ever has an adverse reaction to vaccines?

  • John||

    Marshall,

    Isn't every teenage girl at least in some non zero risk of being raped? Or if not raped maybe doing something sexually they never planned on doing? I don't know what world you live in but in my world promises or plans of sexual restraint are often not followed.

    For that reason, is it a good idea to get the vaccine, yes. I don't know maybe you daughter is planning to join a convent at age 16. But if she isn't, I am sorry to break it to you but she will probably be out having sex before she is 21 regardless of how much you think your little girl will never do that.

    And as far as I am concerned, I, like Ron Baily, already picked up the virus thanks to a misspent youth, so it is too late for me to get one. But if I didn't have it and was single, yes I would totally get the vaccine.

  • nicole||

    I would not call HPV a "lifestyle" vaccine, and I would not say at all that it only makes sense for people who are "promiscuous." From the CDC, "Approximately 20 million Americans are currently infected with HPV. Another 6 million people become newly infected each year. HPV is so common that at least 50% of sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives."

    50%. That's a lot. And just because you are monogamous doesn't mean your partner will be. I have no interest in mandating anything, but it seems absurd to act like this shouldn't be in the standard immunization battery. And no, I also don't trust parents to make the right choice about whether their kids should get the vaccine, because it's about sex, and a lot of parents are stupid.

    Also, FWIW, there is typically a ceiling age at which insurance stops covering any of the shots, because it's assumed it's already too late for it to be effective for you. Something like 27-28.

  • John||

    No guarantee your partner will be monogamous or has been monogamous. Even if you are the perfect Christian girl who never goes past second base before getting married, you still can get it if the guy you married wasn't quite so pure and picked it up himself.

  • Marshall Gill||

    No guarantee your partner will be monogamous or has been monogamous.

    So you and your wife ARE going to get one?

  • Randian||

    The anti-sex and anti-science brigade is in full force today, I see.

    So since many girls have sex as teenagers we should assume that they all will?

    John thinks it's a good idea and worth the money. You, apparently, think it's worth the gamble to save a few bucks. That's your choice.

  • Zeb||

    If they come out with a vaccine for AIDS would you also recommend that for everyone?

    If itis safe, why the fuck not? I'm talking recommendation here, not requirement.

  • nicole||

    If 20 times as many people had HIV as actually do in the US, and we expected half of all adults to contract it at some point, then yes, I'd recommend it for everyone.

  • Randian||

    If they come out with a vaccine for AIDS would you also recommend that for everyone?

    Seriously, that has to be one of the dumber analogies I've seen in a while.

  • Zeb||

    Every communicable disease is a lifestyle disease. If you never went out or had contact with other people, you wouldn't get sick.

  • robc||

    Also there is still some question about age it should be given and etc. At least the last time I looked at it.

    It appears to be more effective the older the person receiving the vaccine is or something. But, of course, before they get HPV, so its a balancing act.

  • $park¥||

    So if it's only a few years old, how many times has it been proven to prevent the virus?

  • John||

    It is only been approved a few years. Like all drugs, thanks to the FDA, they tested it for years before that.

  • robc||

    It looks like the two major versions have shown to be effective for 5+ and 6+ years.

    So not a long time span, yet. For now, the assumption is that boosters arent necessary.

  • BBB||

    Because the vaccine was not subjected to the regular extended trials and was strongly politicized early on, including payouts to politicians (like Rick Perry) by the vaccine's creator, Merck? Those commercial entities ALWAYS have our best interests in mind.

    I'm not opposed to a new vaccine produced in an ethical manner, but cramming it down everyone's throats (like getting it made mandatory in Texas, until it got overturned by the legislature) in a brazen act of corporate welfare is a little much.

    If it's beneficial, that will become obvious soon enough.

  • Robert||

    Because the vaccine, not being of live virus, won't still be effective by the time she becomes sexually active, that's why not to get children vaccinated.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    increased by 0.6 percent per year among children (ages 0 to 14 years).

    That's quite a lot. What are the theories behind the increase? One thing that comes to mind is an increasing lack of sun exposure and vitamin D deficiency, which has been linked by studies to some types of cancer.

  • Zeb||

    I always think it is funny when someone says that "cancer is the #2 killer" or something like that as if that is bad in and of itself. Something has to be the #2 cause of death.

  • John||

    One of my favorites happened a few years ago. Some Congress critter, I sadly have forgotten who, was on CSPAN talking about how so many counties in America have higher than average cancer rates as if the cancer rates must be uniformly spread across every country in America.

  • $park¥||

    It's the power lines. They cause cancer, I saw it in a movie. And pesticide choked water does too. And talking on a cell phone for too long. And wireless network access points.

  • John||

    Alar. The other funny thing is how people went ballistic about the rise of cancer rates in the late 20th century. Sure the rates went up. We invented antibiotics and people stopped dying of the flu and strep throat and started to live long enough to get cancer.

  • Zeb||

    Did he propose a law requiring all counties to be above average?

  • Scarcity||

    And that all the men are strong and the women are good-looking?

  • Marshall Gill||

    It's just plain stupid for parents to refuse to have their children vaccinated against this disease.

    Why only children? Since this vaccine is relatively new, shouldn't everyone get one? Ron, you got one, didn't you?

  • Ron Bailey||

    MG: It's a cost/benefit analysis. See CDC info for details. As for me, I might have been exposed to the virus in my misspent youth. If so, it's probably too late for me to benefit from the vaccine.

  • $park¥||

    it's probably too late for me to benefit from the vaccine

    Probably? You're going to base your decision on a probably? You could DIE, man!

  • Zeb||

    I don't think Ron is too likely to get cervical cancer.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I don't think it's been approved for older males yet.

    So, let's all say a prayer for Ron as he contemplates his impending battle with genital warts and anal cancer.

  • Marshall Gill||

    See CDC info for details.

    How could you argue with the Center for Disease Control? With a name like that they might even compete with the State Science Institute.

    A government bureaucracy swears to Science that they are absolutely necessary and that their mandate (and budget) must be increased? You don't say.

  • John||

    So you don't believe anything they say Marshall? Tell what other science scares do you doubt? The effectiveness of antibiotics? That germs cause disease? You know the CDC has every reason to perpetuate this whole germs cause disease story. If it wasn't true, there wouldn't be much need for a CDC now would there?

  • Marshall Gill||

    How about a little, tiny bit of skepticism? You and Ron both admit that this is a sexually transmitted disease but claim everyone, actually some subset that does not include yourselves, should have it regardless of their actions.

    If you and Ron can live monogamous lives, why can't others?

  • Randian||

    Yes, let's gamble on monogamy. That's worked so well in the past.

  • Zeb||

    What the hell is your point, Marshall?

    I'd oppose requiring the vaccine before kids can attend school, as is often the case with MMR, but why wouldn't you generally recommend a vaccine for a very common virus that can cause a serious cancer?

  • Randian||

    Well, no Zeb, if you remain chaste and holy before the Lord, he won't strike you down with the Sex Cancer.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Zeb, do I really need to list for you the number of self-aggrandizing government bureaucracies? People in this thread are acting as if the incentive for bureaucrats is efficiency instead of self-perpetuation. This vaccine may or may not be a good idea. Top. Men. whose salaries depend upon it claiming it is true does not make it so. Far from it.

  • Randian||

    If you want less people to get cervical cancer, then this is a good idea. That's indisputable and I frankly don't get people who inject their morality into clear-cut scientific facts.

  • Zeb||

    Then why are you arguing about sex and monogamy and such? All anyone else is saying is that assuming the vaccine is reasonably safe and effective, recommending it to everyone is a good idea.

  • Marshall Gill||

    recommending it to everyone is a good idea.

    One size fits all? Is there ANY chance of adverse effects? Zero? If I happen to be one if the tiny, tiny, even non-existent, number of people who have negative side effects it is OK since I am sacrificing for the collective good? Has no one ever died from an adverse reaction to a vaccine? 100% risk from disease and 0% risk from vaccines?

  • Robert||

    Could you get an antibody titer taken and find out? Or is there no assay for that yet?

  • robc||

    The recommendation appears to be 9-25 for women and 11-26 for men. Depending on who you listen to.

    Although it looks like one has been developed for women 25-45 too.

  • np||

    from: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vp.....c-faqs.htm

    because it is only effective before encountering any sexual activity and at their recommended starting ages (basically the onset of puberty) you develop the most antibodies.

    It's not licensed for use beyond age 26 in the US because it hasn't been tested yet. Presuming you weren't already infected, I suppose that means those older than 26 might still be able to get it in some countries

  • Robert||

    Just because it's not licensed to be sold for that use doesn't mean it can't be administered off label.

  • robc||

    it is only effective before encountering any sexual act

    No, it is only effective before being infected. It is theoretically possible to have sex without being infected.

    50% of sexually active men/women get it at some point in their lives. So you could have lots of sex and the vaccine still be effective.

    Then again, after your first sexual encounter, it might be too late.

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