Cancer Deaths Decline Again in US

Death rates from cancer in the United States dropped again between 2014 and 2015, continuing a downward trend that began in 1991 and has meant 2.4 million fewer deaths.

Advances in early detection and treatment, along with a drop in smoking, are believed to be responsible for much of the 26 percent drop since 1991, said the findings in the American Cancer Society’s comprehensive annual report. “This new report reiterates where cancer control efforts have worked, particularly the impact of tobacco control,” said Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.

“A decline in consumption of cigarettes is credited with being the most important factor in the drop in cancer death rates.”? However, he noted that “tobacco remains by far the leading cause of cancer deaths today, responsible for nearly three in 10 cancer deaths.”

Overall, the US cancer death rate reached a peak of 215.1 per 100,000 population in 1991, and has declined to 158.6 per 100,000 in 2015.

Deaths from lung cancer made a 45 percent decline among men and 19 percent among women.? Cancers of the breast, prostate and colon and rectum are also down steeply. The report forecasts about 1.7 million new cancer cases and 609,640 cancer deaths in the United States in 2018. “Over the past decade, the overall cancer incidence rate was stable in women and declined by about two percent per year in men,” it said.

While progress is evident, stark racial disparities remain. The cancer death rate in 2015 was 14 percent higher in blacks than in whites, down from a peak of 33 percent in 1993.

Got Questions? We have Answers! Contact us at CriteriumBlog@criteriuminc.com

Displayed with permission from AFP, usage courtesy of RePubHub license; Image courtesy of Pixabay by alisea_30 under CC0 License.

New Report: Breast Cancer Fatalities Plummet 40%

The American Cancer Society says women face a one-in-eight chance of getting breast cancer and more than 40,600 will succumb this year in the U.S. from the disease.

But improved treatments and early detection are producing promising results, because fatalities from the cancer have dropped almost 40 percent between 1989 and 2015.? That, according to a new report released by ACS, saved some 322,600 lives.? While breast cancer rates increased from 1975 to 1989, the study notes, the fatality rates have dramatically decreased, dropping an actual 39 percent over that period.

The results confirm a steady downward trend over recent years.? Advances in chemotherapy regimens that were developed in the 1980s, the introduction of new drugs like tamoxifen and Herceptin, and early detection through mammograms have reduced the likelihood of breast cancer patients dying from the disease, the report notes.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among U.S. women and is the second leading cause of cancer death among women after lung cancer, according to ACS.? The American Cancer Society publishes the “Breast Cancer Statistics” report every two years to track the latest trends in breast cancer incidence, mortality, survival and screening by race/ethnicity in the United States, as well as state variations in these measures.

The report reveals that black women continue to have higher breast cancer death rates than whites nationally. “Non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black women have higher breast cancer incidence and death rates than women of other race/ethnicities; Asian/Pacific Islander (API) women have the lowest incidence and death rates,” the report states. “Although the overall breast cancer incidence rate during 2010 through 2014 was slightly lower in non-Hispanic black women than in non-Hispanic white, the breast cancer death rate during 2011 through 2015 was 42 percent higher in NHB women than in NHW women.”

The report also links the physiology of black and white women to the discrepancy, noting that black women do not benefit from the development of tamoxifen because they are less inclined to have the type of breast cancer known as “estrogen-receptor positive” that the drug alleviates.? In addition, black women are twice as likely as white women to develop “triple negative breast cancer,” which can be more difficult to treat, the report noted.

But the black-white disparity is stabilizing.? There were no significant differences in breast cancer death rates between black and white women in seven states, according to the study, while Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Delaware had similar rates, suggesting equitable breast cancer outcomes are feasible.

“A large body of research suggests that the black-white breast cancer disparity results from a complex interaction of biologic and nonbiologic factors, including differences in stage at diagnosis, tumor characteristics, obesity, other health issues, as well as tumor characteristics, particularly a higher rate of triple negative cancer,” lead author of the report, Carol DeSantis said.? “But the substantial geographic variation in breast cancer death rates,” she continued, “confirms the role of social and structural factors, and the closing disparity in several states indicates that increasing access to health care to low-income populations can further progress the elimination of breast cancer disparities.”

By Alicia Powe, Displayed with permission from WND via RePubHub; Chart Courtesy of Nat’l Center for Health Statistics/CDC

Got Questions? We have Answers! Contact us at CriteriumBlog@criteriuminc.com

Most Women Are Confused About Cancer Screenings

A new survey courtesy of Planned Parenthood finds that many women are unfortunately in the dark about the basics of breast and cervical cancer screenings.
FREE PIXABAY question banner-1090830_1280 CC0 LICThe nonprofit organization teamed up with an independent research institution, NORC at the University of Chicago, to survey over 1,000 adult women across the country this past March. Among other questions, the women were asked about the age they should first get screened for either type of cancer and how often they should return for a follow-up. When it came to cervical cancer, around 70 percent of women said they knew the correct answer to each question, but only nine percent actually got it right for either. For breast cancer, it was even worse, with more than 80 percent saying they understood the correct time frames, but only four percent getting the first question right and 10 percent the second.

For both breast and cervical cancer, the age that an average woman should get their first screening is 21. With cervical cancer, follow-up screenings should happen every three years for women in their 20s, and every three to five years for women ages 30 to 64; with breast cancer, the rate of screenings should be every one to three years, depending on your family history. In particular for breast cancer, women often confused mammograms as the primary form of screening rather than physical breast exams. Thirty percent guessed the first screening should happen at age 40, which is actually the recommended age of the first mammogram, and 55 percent guessed that women under the age of 40 should receive both types of screenings.

?The survey shows that not enough women have accurate information about their recommended cancer screenings,? said Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, Chief Medical Officer for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement.?The survey is the first of its kind commissioned by the organization, which wanted to understand how much women understood about cancer screenings given the updated recommendations issued by health agencies in recent years, according to Planned Parenthood spokesperson,?Catherina Lozada.

Additionally, the survey demonstrated that a significant chunk of women haven?t gotten screened at all. Nineteen percent said they hadn’t been checked for cervical cancer, compared to 16 percent who said the same about breast cancer. And 39 percent and 23 percent of women said they weren?t sure when they should next get screened for cervical and breast cancer, respectively. These gaps were especially pronounced among Black and Hispanic women, who were not only less likely to get screened, but expressed facing more barriers to proper health care.

For instance, 42 percent of Hispanic women and 32 percent of Black women said that financial cost made them wary of cervical cancer screenings, compared to only 18 percent of white women. Similarly, these women felt more fearful of the test and of the potential results than their white counterparts. The findings only reaffirm a steady stream of research showing the disparities of cancer care experienced by people of color.

?The unfortunate reality is that women of color in the U.S. face more barriers to accessing health care than white women, and so are less likely to get preventive screenings, more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, and more likely to experience worse health outcomes when it comes to breast and cervical cancer,? explained McDonald-Mosley. Sadly, less than half of the women were aware that the Affordable Care Act has now made all insurance policies cover both types of screening?completely free of charge.

?The survey revealed that almost half of women have never encouraged other women in their lives to get screened for cervical cancer, one of the most preventable cancers when caught early,? said McDonald-Mosley. ?We hope more women will talk with their loved ones ? mother, siblings, aunts, cousins, partners, and friends ? about the importance of getting screened for breast and cervical cancer. You can simply ask when the last time they had a check-up was ? and if they aren?t going in for screenings, ask what?s preventing them from getting care.?

Read More:? For Cancer Screenings, When Do The Benefits Outweigh The Risks? Read here
Ovarian Cancer Screening May Soon Be Conducted With A Simple Blood Test. Read here

Source:? National Survey of Women?s Knowledge of Recommended Screenings for Breast and Cervical Cancer. Planned Parenthood. 2016.

By Ed Cara; Displayed with permission from Medical Daily.? Read full article online at RePubHub:RePubHub Banner

 

Got Questions? We have Answers! Contact us at CriteriumBlog@criteriuminc.com

New Oncology Consortia Expand Translational Science Research Offerings

Criterium proudly announces our two newest Oncology Consortia Groups: ATOMIC (The Academic Thoracic Oncology Medical Investigator’s Consortium) focusing on Thoracic and Lung Cancers, and ABRCC (The Academic Breast Cancer Consortium), dedicated to Breast Cancer research. These new consortia consist of a collaboration of outstanding Cancer Research Consortia that deliver innovative research and unparalleled expertise. These two new consortia will join Criterium’s already successful AGICC (the Academic GI Cancer Consortium) directed by Dr. Wells Messersmith, established in 2008, and AMyC (the Academic Myeloma Consortium) established in 2010 with Dr. Brian G. M. Durie directing 3 high profile studies.

ALL Consortia Logos

All of Criterium’s Oncology Consortia specialize in translational research design to bring novel cancer therapies to market in accelerated time frames. “These new types of therapies allow cancer drugs to more effectively target only the destructive cancer cells, while allowing healthy cells to remain untouched, thereby providing a less toxic treatment, with better patient survival outcomes,” stated Dr. Jack Macdonald, the Senior Medical Consultant for the Oncology Consortia.

Dr. D. Ross Camidge MD PHD ATOMIC

Dr. D. Ross Camidge of the University of Colorado?s Cancer Center in Aurora, Colorado has been appointed as ATOMIC’s Director. “ATOMIC brings together a powerful mixture of mature thought leaders and the next generation of experts with the sole goal of designing and completing clinical trials that will change the way we do business in thoracic oncology for the better,” says Camidge.

Also from the University of Colorado is Dr. Peter Kabos, Dr Peter Kabos MD ABRCCthe newly named Director for ABRCC. “ABRCC is an academic consortium formed for the new era of clinical trial design and implementation. Our goal is to rapidly translate advances in breast cancer research into targeted therapies that will benefit our patients,” states Kabos. Both bring an exceptional set of credentials in advanced research and organizational skills to the collaboration.

The Consortia Model for research and development in pharmaceuticals utilizes translational science methodologies to streamline cancer research. The Consortia rosters are presently represented by Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and Top Investigators at 24 of the most prestigious institutions in the USA. In this way, Criterium brings together these physician-scientists into highly effective and productive new drug development entities. To learn more, please visit: www.CriteriumInc.com/OCC.php

Got Questions? We have Answers! Contact us at CriteriumBlog@criteriuminc.com

The New Treatment Paradigm in Cancer Research

Dr J S Macdonald MDDr. John S. Macdonald
Senior Consultant for The Oncology Consortia of CRITERIUM, INC.

In the past, typical anti-cancer systemic therapies that worked, albeit poorly, did so by killing cancer cells only slightly better than they killed normal cells. There were relatively few of these drugs and they were given to patients with all kinds of cancers. This toxic therapy could be depended upon to make patients sick all the time while rarely making cancers significantly improve.? To effectively develop these new treatments, clinical investigators must not only be excellent physicians but also be first rate molecular and cellular biologists.

CHEMOTHERAPEUTIC AGENTS KILL MORE CELLS THAN THEY SHOULD
The classic chemotherapeutic agents are relatively non specific toxins that function by killing or at least seriously injuring cells. These agents cause significant toxicity to patients because all or most of the cells in the body are injured by these drugs. A successful chemotherapeutic agent kills cancer cells a little better than it kills normal cells.

CHEMOTHERAPY MAKING A CANCER COMPLETELY DISAPPEAR IS RARE
One of the real negative aspects of chemotherapy is that all patients receiving a drug experience toxicity which may be life threatening, but only a minority of patients with cancer will actually have treatment make the tumor regress. Having chemotherapy make a cancer completely disappear with treatment with the therapy producing a CR or complete response, is rare. The final phase III trials required to show that a new treatment is equal to or superior to a standard therapy, require hundreds of patients most of whom will be made sick by the therapy but not get any anti-tumor benefit.

CLASSIC CHEMOTHERAPY PRODUCES UNWANTED ADDITIONAL EFFECTS
Finally since classic chemotherapy agents are toxins they may produce late effects such as second cancers and major organ (bone marrow, kidney, liver, lung, etc.) damage in patients who receive treatment and or cured of their original cancers. So the bottom line with classic chemo is that these are agents that are always toxic, rarely curative, require hundreds of patients on clinical trials to demonstrate efficacy and may result in serious late effects.

Recently this paradigm of toxic relatively ineffective cancer therapies is changing. Because of increased knowledge of molecular biology and molecular genetics, more specific targeted therapies that are less toxic to normal cells are being developed. Some dramatic improvements in survival have been reported with such treatments.

IN TARGETED THERAPIES, ONLY CANCER CELLS ARE DAMAGED
AND NORMAL CELLS ARE SPARED

The key factors that make targeted cancer therapies and immunotherapy different from and in theory superior to chemotherapy are that these treatments dependent upon specific anti-tumor effects. In other words in the ideal situation only? the cancer cells are injured or killed with a targeted approach or an immunotherapy approach. Thus if a target exists only in tumor cells or is over expressed in tumor cells, then a targeted therapy only affects the cancer cell and does minimal if any damage to normal cells. Ideally the result is tumor death and no normal cell toxicity. Likewise with immunotherapy, the only cells damaged would be the cells (tumor cells) carrying the antigen or marker that the immune system recognizes. Again the result is that cancer cells are damaged and normal cells are spared.

TARGETED THERAPIES ARE MORE EFFICIENT AND LESS TOXIC
The factor to keep in mind is that the clinical development of more targeted therapies should clearly be much more efficient than development of chemotherapy. Only patients with the specific target are entered in clinical trials so the likelihood of benefit is increased. Targeted or immunotherapeutic treatments may be active against the tumor at dose levels that are minimally toxic. Thus small targeted relatively non toxic trials may be used in development of newer approaches to cancer treatment.

Got Questions? We have Answers! Contact us at CriteriumBlog@criteriuminc.com