The nation's investment in cancer research is making a difference.
However, cancer remains a major public health problem that profoundly affects the more than 1 million people diagnosed each year, as well as their families and friends.
Why a Progress Report Is Needed
Since the signing of the National Cancer Act in 1971, our country has vigorously fought the devastating effects of cancer. Now it is time to see how far we have come. The Cancer Trends Progress Report—2011/2012 Update is the sixth in a series of reports that describe the nation's progress against cancer through research and related efforts. The report is based on the most recent data at the time of analysis from the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, other federal agencies, professional groups, and cancer researchers.
The Cancer Trends Progress Report was designed to help the nation review past efforts and plan future ones. The public can use the report to better understand the nature and results of strategies to fight cancer. Researchers, clinicians, and public health providers can focus on the gaps and opportunities identified in the report, paving the way for future progress against cancer. Policymakers can use the report to evaluate our progress relative to our investment in cancer research discovery, program development, and service delivery.
What's in the Report
The Cancer Trends Progress Report—2011/2012 Update includes key measures of progress along the cancer control continuum.
Where possible, the Cancer Trends Progress Report shows changes in these data over time (trends). This report shows whether the trends are "rising" or "falling" using standard definitions and tests of the statistical significance of the trends (see Methodology for Characterizing Trends). For some measures, differences in the cancer burden among various U.S. racial and ethnic groups, income groups, and groups by level of educational attainment, are also presented.
Most of the measures for age-adjusted cancer death rates in this report are identical to those presented in Healthy People 2020, a comprehensive set of 10-year health objectives for the nation sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This enabled us to show the nation's progress relative to cancer-related targets for Healthy People 2020.
How Data Were Selected
In selecting measures that would be meaningful to readers of this report, we relied largely on long-term national (rather than state or local) data collection efforts. State and local data are available online at State Cancer Profiles (http://statecancerprofiles.cancer.gov). The report includes more measures for prevention than for other segments of the continuum, because of the potential of prevention measures to positively impact national progress to reduce the burden of cancer. Some measures such as "quality of life" were not included in this report, even though they are important in assessing the cancer burden, because there is no current consensus on how best to track these measures on a population basis over time.
The data in the Cancer Trends Progress Report—2011/2012 Update come from a variety of systems and surveys with different collection techniques and reporting times, so time periods may vary. The starting point or baseline year against which to measure how well the nation is progressing toward the Healthy People 2020 targets depends on the data available. For example, data for most Diagnosis, Life After Cancer, and End of Life measures are available starting in 1975, while data for most Prevention, Early Detection, and Treatment measures are available beginning in the late 1980s or early 1990s.
Cancer Trends Progress Report—2011/2012 Update, National Cancer Institute, NIH, DHHS, Bethesda, MD, April 2010, http://progressreport.cancer.gov
All material in this report is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission; citation as to source, however, is appreciated.