The media are vulnerable to anti-chemical hype purveyed by activist environmental groups. They often warn us that pesticides are causing a cancer epidemic. The facts show that the opposite is true: cancer rates are in decline and have been for years.
A report in the current JAMA on the rate of invasive cancers in America compared the rate of 2009 to 2010, and found room for optimism: the rate declined 3 percent over that one year (from 459 to 446 cases per 100,000). This is consistent with the trend of declining cancer rates overall which has largely tracked the decline in smoking rates over the past twenty-plus years.
The CDC s Healthy People 2020 is the latest iteration of the agency s goals for improving America s health based on numerous measurable parameters. As you may perceive, these are re-evaluated every 10 years with new goal parameters. There are no specific numerical goals for cancer rate reduction, but the goal of reducing cancer rates has been accomplished, while admittedly a never-ending battle.
The four most common sites of invasive cancer are: prostate, breast, lung and colon-rectum.
ACSH s Dr. Gil Ross had this comment: First of all, the war on cancer is a long-term battle which can never be won : we cannot declare victory and pull out our troops, obviously. Cancer is a conglomerative diagnosis encompassing many different types of cells dividing without control, some of which kill without remedy and quickly, some slowly, some not at all. And cancers tend to occur as we age, so as our longevity expands, one would think that cancer rates would go up. The opposite has been the case, clearly proving the beware the cancer epidemic forces wrong. But we will never eradicate cancer until we become immortal.
As for promoting the more rapid decline of cancer rates (as well as mortality), encouraging effective preventive tactics such as avoiding excessive sun exposure, getting colonoscopy screening as indicated, and making sure young people get their complete set of three HPV vaccinations, would all contribute to continuing the decline in cancer rates.