This article was originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle’s health section on January 16, 2013.
The new year brings good news in the fight against cancer.
A report released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and three prominent cancer research groups shows that cancer deaths in the United States are declining for men, women and children. New cancer diagnoses also declined for men from 2000 through 2009, the period the report examines, but remained stable for women and increased slightly for children.
The report does raise cause for concern in one area. Some cancers associated with the human papillomavirus, or HPV, are on the rise. HPV causes cervical cancer, which had a declining incidence rate, but it also causes certain types of oral, throat and anal cancers, which are becoming more common. The CDC recommends teen boys and girls receive a vaccine to prevent these diseases, but the report shows the majority of parents haven’t complied.
Here are the numbers:
The percentage that cancer deaths decreased for both men and children from 2000 through 2009. For women, the decrease was 1.4 percent.
The percentage that death rates decreased in the most common cancers in men. Those cancers are lung, prostate, colon and rectum, leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, kidney, stomach, myeloma, oral cavity and pharynx, and larynx. Death rates in seven male cancers increased. Those include melanoma skin cancer and cancers of the pancreas and liver.
The number of cancers most common in women that showed decreased death rates: lung, breast, colon and rectum, ovary, leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, brain and other nervous system, myeloma, kidney, stomach, cervix, bladder, esophagus, oral cavity and pharynx, and gallbladder. Death rates for cancers of the pancreas, liver and uterus increased.
The percentage that new cancer diagnoses decreased for men from 2000 through 2009. The rate remained stable for women, and increased by 0.6 percent for children.
The percentage of American girls ages 13 to 17 who had received the three doses of HPV vaccination the CDC recommends by 2010. The CDC now also recommends teen boys get vaccinated to protect against HPV-related cancers that affect men and to guard against spreading the HPV virus to future sexual partners.