What Growing Cancer Epidemic? - Update

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New cancer trend statistics being released today are heartening. Eurekalert headline announcing the new cancer stats reads: "Cancer Deaths Continue to Drop." Which is happily quite true, but actually misses the even more amazing fact that "Cancer Incidence Rates Continue to Drop."

  • Cancer incidence rates decreased in men 1.3 percent per year from 2000 to 2006 and in women 0.5 percent per year from 1998 to 2006.
  • Death rates for all cancer sites combined decreased 2 percent per year from 2001 to 2006 in males and 1.5 percent per year from 2002 to 2006 in females.

Figure 2

Since Reason had already sensibly published some of my reporting on this topic, I once pitched an article on the surprising truth that cancer incidence rates have been declining to the science editor of a popular technology magazine. He irritably blurted out, "That can't be true." To this day, I wish I had snapped back: "That's why it's surprising, you dolt."

For more background on this happy trend you might consider reading my 2001 column, "What Cancer Epidemic?" Go here for the full report.