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News of the Day ... In Perspective

03/20/2006

Cancer rates up in women, down in men

In 2002-2003, American cancer deaths declined slightly, for the first time since the government started keeping statistics 75 years ago, announced the American Cancer Society. The total deaths for women, however, increased by 409 cases in 2003, while the number in men decreased by 778.

Total deaths decreased from 557,271 to 556,902. Cancer death rates, despite a growing and aging population, have been declining in the United States since 1991.

The overall decrease is attributed to a decrease in smoking.

It is breast cancer, the #2 cancer killer of women, that is keeping rates higher than they should be. Last year 40,400 women were expected to die of breast cancer, with the total number of cases exceeding a quarter million.

“Much of the long-term underlying increase in incidence among women is due to historical changes in reproductive patterns, such as delayed childbearing and having fewer children,” states the American Cancer Society.

The ACS makes no allusion to abortion rates, although abortion is one of the main changes in reproductive patterns.

Earlier, a 40% increase in breast cancer in Chinese women had been reported, with the disease impacting a younger age group. A survey carried out by the Ministry of Health indicated that the fatality rate of breast cancer rose 38.7 percent for women living in urban areas and 39.1 percent for rural women between 1991 and 2000, China Daily reported (AFP 10/5/05). Abortion is very common in China, owing to the one-child policy, but officials blame a faster-paced life and increased dietary fat for the breast cancer increase.

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