The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently published its third annual Clinical Cancer Advances report, Clinical Cancer Advances 2007: Major Research Advances in Cancer Treatment, Prevention and Screening . It was developed under the guidance of a 21-person editorial board consisting of leading oncologists and cancer specialists, including specialty editors for each of the disease-specific and issue-specific sections. The report highlights 6 major advances in cancer research in 2007 and describes an additional 18 other findings of significant importance, demonstrating the pace of progress being made in cancer prevention, screening, treatment, epidemiology and survivorship.
With all the recent discussion and debate by the presidential candidates regarding healthcare issues, I thought a study published last month in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians was quite timely. The study, titled Association of Insurance with Cancer Care Utilization and Outcomes, presents evidence that lack of adequate health insurance coverage is associated with reduced access to care and poorer outcomes for cancer patients . The article further presents data on the association between health insurance status and screening, stage at diagnosis and survival for breast and colorectal cancer.
In 2003, cancer deaths in the United States decreased by 369 deaths compared to 2002, the first drop seen since 1930. In 2004, the decrease in cancer deaths was eight times greater – 3,014 deaths – than in 2003, according to a report published in the latest issue of the American Cancer Society (ACS) journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians .
Experts are attributing the decreases to declines in smoking, earlier detection and more effective treatment of tumors. The three most common cancers — breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer – show a decrease in death rates, with the largest change from colorectal cancer. Experts attribute much of the credit for the reduction in colorectal cancer to screening exams and the early detection of polyps that can be removed before they become cancerous.