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Cancer Trends Progress Report – 2011/2012 Update

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What is the Cancer Trends Progress Report – 2011/2012 Update?

The National Cancer Institute's Cancer Trends Progress Report – 2011/2012 Update is an online report that tracks the nation's progress against cancer across the full cancer continuum—from prevention through the impact of deaths from cancer.

Why is the report important?

It is the only report of its kind to present—all in one place—the most up-to-date information on trends in the nation's progress against cancer, gathered through a collaborative effort with other key cancer agencies and groups, including the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, other federal agencies, professional groups, and cancer researchers.

What is the main message of the report?

The nation has met or is making progress toward a number of major cancer-related Healthy People 2020 targets. However, we are losing ground in other important areas that demand attention.

What is in the report?

The report includes key measures in the areas of prevention, screening, diagnosis, life after cancer, and the end of life. Progress is tracked over time, with the initial year depending on the available data. This progress is measured against certain cancer-related targets of Healthy People 2020.

The body of the report includes standardized information for each measure, including background, definition of measure, time period, trend, most recent estimate, Healthy People� target, groups at high risk, and key issues. This information is summarized in chart form in the Highlights section of the report. Special color-coded graphics in this section show whether the trend is going in the desired direction and how the nation's progress compares to the Healthy People targets.

How is the information displayed and explained?

Most of the trend graphs were made using a statistical method (Joinpoint regression analysis) that illustrates real changes in direction instead of merely connecting one dot to another. The report shows whether trends are rising or falling, and it explains why changes might have occurred. For some measures, differences in the cancer burden between some U.S. racial and ethnic groups also are presented. The measures, trends, and progress are summarized in bullet form in the Highlights section of the report. Data are downloadable as Excel spreadsheets, and graphs within the report are downloadable as JPEG files which can be used in PowerPoint slides.

Where did the data come from?

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. Data were gathered from the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, other federal agencies, professional groups, and cancer researchers.

How were data selected?

Measures were selected based on scientific evidence and the availability of periodic or longitudinal national—rather than state or local—data collection and analysis efforts. Criteria for selecting measures included the relevance of what was being measured (e.g., impact on cancer, national policy implications); the scientific rigor underlying the measure (e.g., validity, reliability, and explicitness of evidence base); the feasibility of using the measure (e.g., availability of long-term data); and usability by target audiences (e.g., ease of understanding and applicability). The report includes more measures for prevention because more data on trends are available in that area. Where possible, 1990 was used as the starting point or baseline against which to measure how well the nation is progressing toward the Healthy People 2020 targets.

What data are not in the report?

Not all measures for all relevant areas of cancer progress could be included in this report. In some cases, trend information on a national level is not available. In other cases, there is no reliable information at this time. Although dramatic advances have been made in the treatment of many cancers and the report cites progress made in the treatment of breast and colorectal cancers, a national data system for tracking and assessing progress over time is not yet in place. Some measures such as quality of life, while important in assessing the cancer burden, were not included because there simply is no consensus on how best to track those measures in a population at this time. Future editions of the report will include these as well as population-level measures like the one in this edition describing state laws on smoke-free air.

Where can I find state- and county-level cancer data?

This report cites data at the national level. For cancer data at the state or county level or behavioral risk factor data at the state level, go to NCIs State Cancer Profiles Web site at

Who can use the report?

People can use the report to better understand the nature of cancer and the results of work being done to fight it. Researchers, clinicians, and public health providers can focus on the gaps and opportunities identified, and work to make 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.

How often will the report be updated?

The online report is updated in its entirety every two years. Chapters including Diagnosis, Life after Cancer, and End of Life will be updated annually as new data become available.

What is the rationale for the report?

The Cancer Trends Progress Report resulted from recommendations in the late 1990s by NCI's Cancer Control Program Review Group (CCPRG) and Surveillance Implementation Group (SIG) to develop a national progress report on the cancer burden. The CCPRG was convened in 1996 by the NCI Director and the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors to evaluate the full scope of the institute's cancer control research program. The SIG was established by the NCI Director to provide advice and recommendations for expanding and enhancing NCI's cancer surveillance research program.

How can I get a copy of the report?

The Cancer Trends Progress Report 2011/2012 Update is available online only, however portions of the report or the entire report may be downloaded and printed. Reports from years 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009 are archived online.

Where can more information on cancer be found?

Where should questions about the Cancer Trends Progress Report �be directed?

Send questions to Progress Report Help.

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