Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Neoplasms: 16

This is the sixteenth blog in a series of blogs on neoplasia.

Though there has been little success in curing the advanced common cancers, there has been remarkable success in finding cures for some of the rare cancers, particularly several rare cancers of childhood. Why is it possible to cure rare cancers? Why would rarity have anything to do with curability? In this blog, and in the next few blogs, we'll be exploring the properties of common tumors and how they differ from the properties of rare tumors.

First, lets look at common cancers and see how we've been approaching the problem of their cure.

The general approach to funding cancer research is the same now as it was in the early 1970s; attack cancer tumor by tumor, dividing available funds in rough proportion to the number of people who die from each tumor. Here are the top 15 cancer killers in the U.S. (Data from the National Cancer Institute's SEER, Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results Program).

List. U.S. death rates and trends for the top 15 cancer sites [1], expressed as rates per 100,000 and age-adjusted.

All Sites 189.8
Lung and Bronchus 54.1
Colon and Rectum 18.8
Breast 14.1
Pancreas 10.6
Prostate 10.1
Leukemia 7.4
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 7.3
Liver & IBD 5.0
Ovary 5.0
Esophagus 4.4
Brain and ONS 4.4
Urinary Bladder 4.3
Kidney and Renal Pelvis 4.2
Stomach 4.1
Myeloma 3.7
IBD = Intrahepatic bile duct
ONS = Other nervous system

The top five cancer killers (lung, colon, breast, pancreas and prostate) account for about 60% of all cancer deaths.

In the next blog, we'll cover funding for the common cancers.

1. [Seer Cancer Stat Fact Sheets. Table I-26 Age-adjusted U.S. death rates and trends for the top 15 cancer sites]

-Copyright (C) 2008 Jules J. Berman

key words: cancer, tumor, tumour, carcinogen, neoplasia, neoplastic development, classification, biomedical informatics, tumor development, precancer, benign tumor, ontology, classification, developmental lineage classification and taxonomy of neoplasms

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