Nationwide, cancer death rates are falling steadily, according to the American Cancer Society’s annual cancer statistics report, Cancer Facts & Figures 2009.
Cancer death rates dropped 19.2 percent among men between 1990 and 2005, and rates dropped 11.4 percent from 1991–2005. These drops represent about 650,000 cancer deaths avoided over the past 15 years.
Decreases in death from lung, prostate and colorectal cancer accounted for about 80 percent of the decline among men, while decreases in breast and colorectal cancer made up about 60 percent of the decline for women.
Here in Solano County, “the mortality rate for breast cancer has declined by more than 27 percent, due to the combined effects of better treatment and earlier diagnosis,” says Charlene Thompson, cancer data coordinator for the NorthBay Cancer Center. “From 1988 to 2004, the mortality rate for African Americans declined by 12 percent, for Hispanic women it declined by 13 percent, and as much as 27 percent for Caucasian women.”
While breast cancer mortality rates are declining, overall cancer mortality rates are on the increase here. According to the California Health Interview Survey—a scientific statewide survey conducted every two years—the three leading causes of death in Solano County are cancer, heart disease and stroke, in that order. Solano County ranked 49 out of 58 in death rates from cancer in 2006, and death rates from all cancers here have been on the rise since 2003.