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Friday, 05 September 2008 20:29

CDC finds over 2 million cases of tobacco-caused cancers in U.S.

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The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention found 2.4 million cases of tobacco-related cancers in the United States between the years of 1999 and 2004.


The CDC report on tobacco-related cancers is entitled “Surveillance for Cancers Associated with Tobacco Use --- United States, 1999—2004.” It was prepared by researchers from the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion) and the Office on Smoking and Health, (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion).

The abstract to the report begins, “Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. The 2004 Surgeon General report found convincing evidence for a direct causal relationship between tobacco use and the following cancers: lung and bronchial, laryngeal, oral cavity and pharyngeal, esophageal, stomach, pancreatic, kidney and renal pelvis, urinary bladder, and cervical cancers and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). This report provides state-level cancer incidence data and recent trends for cancers associated with tobacco use.”

According to the report, the researchers found that lung cancer and bronchial cancer caused about 50% of all the tobacco-related cancers.

The incidence rates for the different types of cancers ranged from 4 people out of 100,000 for acute myelogenous leukemia (at the low end) to 69.4 people out of 100,000 for lung and bronchial cancer (at the high end).

Age-adjusted incidence rates ranged from 4.0 per 100,000 persons (for AML) to 69.4 (for lung and bronchial cancer).

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Between 1999 and 2004, a total of 1,095,305 lung and bronchial cancers were diagnosed in the United States. Men were diagnosed more often than women.

Black men had the highest rates of lung and bronchial cancers among men, followed by white men. Among women, white women had the highest rates, followed by black women. Non-Hispanics had nearly twice the rate over Hispanics.

People between the ages of 70 and 79 years had the highest rates of lung and bronchial cancers.

Overall, tobacco-related cancer was found more commonly in men (rather than women), African-Americans and non-Hispanics, and people 70 years of age and older.

The state of Kentucky had the highest rate of lung and laryngeal cancers, with the southern region of the United States having the most frequent occurrence of these two cancers. The South is historically a region with high rates of tobacco use (smoking and chewing). Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Mississippi (in that order) have the highest percentages of active smokers, at 28.5%, 25.7%, 25.1%, and 25.1%, respectively.

The western region of the United States had the lowest incidences of all cancers, except for stomach cancer.

Although the CDC indicates that 2.4 million cases of tobacco-related cancers occurred in the United States between the years of 1999 to 2004, the report states that the data does not specifically indicate whether these people actually use tobacco. However, they indicated that their conclusions are based on direct relationships found between tobacco use and these cancer types.

The report stated, “Because information on tobacco use was not available in the databases of the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) and Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program, cases of cancer included in this report might or might not be in persons who used tobacco; however, the cancer types included in this report are those defined by the U.S. Surgeon General as having a direct causal relationship with tobacco use (i.e., referred to as tobacco-related cancer in this report).”

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A conclusion of the report states, “The findings in this report emphasize the need for ongoing surveillance and reporting to monitor cancer incidence trends, identify populations at greatest risk for developing cancer related to tobacco use, and evaluate the effectiveness of targeted tobacco control programs and policies.”

According to the report, “Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States, resulting in an estimated 438,000 premature deaths annually, or nearly one of every five deaths each year. This estimate includes approximately 38,000 deaths attributed to exposure to secondhand smoke, which contains at least 250 chemicals known to be toxic. Forms of tobacco used in the United States include cigarettes, cigars, pipes, nonconventional imported cigarettes (e.g., bidis and kreteks [clove cigarettes]), and smokeless tobacco (i.e., snuff or chewing tobacco).”

It adds, “Tobacco use causes more deaths each year than alcohol use, car crashes, suicide, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), homicide, and illegal drug use combined. In addition, smoking accounts for $167 billion annually in health care expenditures and productivity losses.”

Find which cancers are more common in your state by looking at the charts included with the CDC report “Surveillance for Cancers Associated with Tobacco Use --- United States, 1999—2004.”

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