Prostate cancer incidence and mortality for 2010 in the USA


The latest data from the American Cancer Society suggest that there will be an increase in both prostate cancer diagnoses and prostate cancer deaths in the USA in 2010 compared to 2009, but whether this is really of any statistical significance is probably open to question (see below).

According to the society’s annual publication Cancer Facts & Figures 2010, there will be 217,730 new cases of prostate cancer this year and 32,050 deaths. These numbers should be compared to the projected number of 192,280 new cases and 27,360 deaths that were expected in 2009.

It is not immediately apparent why there should be such a large increase in projected numbers of new cases of prostate cancer (up by 13.2 percent) and prostate cancer-specific deaths (up by17.1 percent) for 2010 compared to 2009. However, readers are strongly advised to note the following comment from page 60 of Cancer Facts & Figures 2010:

The estimated numbers of new cancer cases and deaths in the current year are model-based and may produce numbers that vary considerably from year to year. For this reason, the use of our estimates to track year-to-year changes in cancer occurrence or deaths is strongly discouraged. Incidence and mortality rates reported by the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program and NCHS are more informative statistics to use when tracking cancer incidence and mortality trends for the US. Rates from state cancer registries are useful for tracking local trends.

On pages 23 through 37 of Cancer Facts & Figures 2010 there is a detailed discussion of issues related to prostate cancer and its management. The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink plans to read this with great care and comment on this article in a future post.

2 Responses

  1. I think if you were interested enough to compare all the estimates and actuals through the years you would find a consistent ‘over-projection’ of estimated numbers. That’s certainly the impression I gained and I actually did a comparison about 7 years ago which verified this idea.

    If I were a cynic I’d say that there was a good deal of merit in having high projections — that makes the reductions so much better — as is the case in the Tyrol experiment.

  2. Data for the incidence and mortality of prostate cancer from the Centers for Disease Control web site (based on the National Vital Statistics System or NVSS) state that:

    (1) The incidence of prostate cancer in the period 2000 to 2006 ranged from a low of 187,505 in 2000 to a high of 203,415 in 2006 (as compared to a range from 180,400 in 2000 to 234,460 in 2006 projected by the American Cancer Society).

    (2) The mortality of prostate cancer in the period 2000 to 2006 declined every year from 31,078 in 2000 to 28,372 in 2006 (as compared to a range from 31,900 in 2000 to 27,350 in 2006 projected by the American Cancer Society).

    (3) The average decline in mortality from 2000 to 2006 based on the NVSS data is 451 less deaths each year. If you apply that average decline to the historic data, it suggests that the number of deaths in 2010 will actually only be about 26,600.

    However, having said that, all of these data involve multiple different statistical projections. There is no such thing as an accurate annual count of the number of men who are diagnosed with or die from prostate cancer (or any other form of cancer) each year.

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