New cancer cases among California adults are declining, but cases of childhood cancers are increasing in the state, according to a report by the California HealthCare Foundation, California Watch reports. CHCF publishes California Healthline.
However, the report also found that cancer survival rates are improving for children and adults.
According to the report, the rate of new cancer cases among adults has dropped from 456 per 100,000 residents in 1989 to 413 per 100,000 residents in 2009, a decrease of about 9%.
However, the report found that new cancer cases among children have climbed from 15.4 cases per 100,000 children in 1989 to 17.8 cases in 2008, an increase of about 15.6%.
According to the report, the cancer mortality rate decreased by 22% among adults and by 21.6% among children between 1989 and 2008.
Experts Discuss Cancer Rates
Tina Clarke Dur -- an epidemiologist with the Cancer Prevention Institute of California -- said that the decrease in adult cancer cases has been driven by efforts to curb California's smoking rate, which has led to a decrease in lung cancer rates.
In addition, she said, there was a 15% decline in breast cancer cases shortly after women learned about the risks of hormone replacement therapy in 2003.
Catherine Metayer -- a UC-Berkeley epidemiologist who studies causes of childhood cancer -- said researchers around the world are working together to determine why children get leukemia, which accounts for about 35% of childhood cancers (Jewett, California Watch, 6/11).
Racial Disparities Persist in Cancer Rates, Report Finds
The report also found that racial disparities in cancer rates persist in California.
For example, the report found that:
- Mortality rates among blacks were 30% to 90% higher for all types of cancer than for other racial groups;
- Whites were more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer;
- Death rates were 40% higher for blacks with breast cancer than for whites with the disease; and
- Black men were twice as likely to die from prostate cancer as white men (Dornhelm, "The California Report," KQED, 6/7).