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Cancer Mortality Rates Experience Steady Decline
Date:8/12/2009

of the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences at Wayne State University, said proportional mortality is calculated in groups of 100.

"When calculating proportional mortality, we start with the assumption that everyone dies of something eventually, so you take 100 deaths and calculate, based on death certificates, what those people have died from," said Severson, who reviewed the report for Cancer Research.

Cancer will surpass heart disease as a cause of death in 2010 because, while both heart disease and cancer have been declining, heart disease mortality rates have been declining much more rapidly. And while it's true that cancer incidence rates continue to grow, the decreased mortality across all age groups shows the effect of improved screening and treatment.

"In childhood cancer particularly, we're able to do amazing things with leukemia and lymphoma that used to be a death sentence but now we are curing many of these cancers," Severson said.

"This study focuses on an aspect that has been overlooked in determining whether we've had a significant impact on cancer mortality," said George Vande Woude, Ph.D., head of VARI's Laboratory of Molecular Oncology. Vande Woude helped conceive of the project and is one of the study's authors.

Vande Woude and Kort, currently a medical resident at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids, worked in collaboration on the project with Nigel Paneth, M.D., of Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine, departments of Epidemiology and Pediatrics and Human Development. The project was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Van Andel Institute.

About Van Andel Institute

Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996, Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent research and educational organization based i
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SOURCE Van Andel Institute
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