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Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975–2007, Featuring Tumors of the Brain and Other Nervous System
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  • Description:
    Background

    The American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Cancer Institute, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) collaborate annually to provide updated information on cancer occurrence and trends in the United States. This year’s report highlights brain and other nervous system (ONS) tumors, including nonmalignant brain tumors, which became reportable on a national level in 2004.

    Methods

    Cancer incidence data were obtained from the National Cancer Institute, CDC, and NAACCR, and information on deaths was obtained from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. The annual percentage changes in age-standardized incidence and death rates (2000 US population standard) for all cancers combined and for the top 15 cancers for men and for women were estimated by joinpoint analysis of long-term (1992–2007 for incidence; 1975–2007 for mortality) trends and short-term fixed interval (1998–2007) trends. Analyses of malignant neuroepithelial brain and ONS tumors were based on data from 1980–2007; data on nonmalignant tumors were available for 2004–2007. All statistical tests were two-sided.

    Results

    Overall cancer incidence rates decreased by approximately 1% per year; the decrease was statistically significant (P < .05) in women, but not in men, because of a recent increase in prostate cancer incidence. The death rates continued to decrease for both sexes. Childhood cancer incidence rates continued to increase, whereas death rates continued to decrease. Lung cancer death rates decreased in women for the first time during 2003–2007, more than a decade after decreasing in men. During 2004–2007, more than 213 500 primary brain and ONS tumors were diagnosed, and 35.8% were malignant. From 1987–2007, the incidence of neuroepithelial malignant brain and ONS tumors decreased by 0.4% per year in men and women combined.

    Conclusions

    The decrease in cancer incidence and mortality reflects progress in cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment. However, major challenges remain, including increasing incidence rates and continued low survival for some cancers. Malignant and nonmalignant brain tumors demonstrate differing patterns of occurrence by sex, age, and race, and exhibit considerable biologic diversity. Inclusion of nonmalignant brain tumors in cancer registries provides a fuller assessment of disease burden and medical resource needs associated with these unique tumors.

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