Death rates from cancer are continuing to decrease, according to the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, published online on January 7, 2013, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The decline in cancer death rates was attributed to treatment advances and better screening.
“Among the major cancers such as breast, prostate and colon cancers, strides have been made over the past 10 years,” said Dr. Tai. “More effective screening has resulted in more patients being diagnosed at an earlier stage, hence more cures.
“Improved treatment has also resulted in improved survival of cancer patients. In addition, the treatment of more advanced disease has dramatically improved. Patients benefit from targeted therapy, such as Her2+ breast cancer, and Rituxin in lymphoma patients.
“We can look continued improvements in cancer survival because the research pipeline is robust in targeted therapies. In other cancers, we still have much work to do. Even though the progress is less dramatic in some areas, it is nonetheless encouraging.”
According to the report, deaths from cancer began slowly dropping in the 1990s, and the trend is holding. Among men, cancer death rates have dropped by 1.8 percent a year between 2000 and 2009, and by 1.4 percent a year among women. The drops are due to gains against some of the leading types of cancers — lung, colorectal, breast and prostate — because of treatment advances and better screening.
The report also indicates that deaths are increasing for several cancer types including liver, pancreatic and melanoma, the most serious kind of skin cancer. It also highlights that oral and anal cancers caused by HPV, the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, are on the rise among both genders. HPV is better known for causing cervical cancer, and a protective vaccine is available.
At the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, cancer care is delivered within a multidisciplinary care team environment, involving a group of highly skilled professionals that specialize in specific types of cancer. PAMF recently became one of the first oncology practices in the nation to be recognized by the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) Certification Program, an affiliate of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
Reporters interested in interviewing Dr. Tai about cancer trends and treatment can contact:
PAMF Public Affairs
The Palo Alto Medical Foundation invites the community to a free cancer awareness program on Saturday, October 13, 2012 to increase cancer awareness, prevention and early detection.
The “Cancer: From Prevention to Survivorship” event will take place at PAMF’s Mountain View Center, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m, and is open to cancer patients, survivors, families and the community. Cancer experts from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and Stanford University School of Medicine will speak, and Peter Yu, M.D., PAMF’s director of hematology and oncology research and past member of American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Board of Directors, will moderate the event, which is sponsored by New Frontiers in the Prevention of Breast Cancer.
Cancer Awareness Event Presentations:
Cancer Prevention for You and Your Family:
Presenter: Marcia Stefanick, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University School of Medicine
“This event will share knowledge of what we know about environmental causes of cancer and inherited causes of cancer,” said Dr. Yu. “This knowledge is our brightest hope for developing more effective strategies for preventing cancer.”
For more information on the free event and to register, please visit: www.pamf.org/events.
A cancer diagnosis affects the body, mind and spirit. PAMF offers a complete array of free complementary care activities to help people manage the symptoms and improve their quality of life. View a list of complementary therapies and dates.
Learn more about Cancer Care at PAMF – including programs for caregivers of people with cancer.
Cancer patients, survivors, families and the community are invited to join the Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Mountain View on Saturday, October 22 and Santa Cruz on Saturday, October 29 for two free programs dedicated to increasing awareness about cancer, prevention and survivorship. The events titled, Breast Cancer — From Prevention to Survivorship, will include speakers and refreshments. Read More about PAMF Hosts Breast Cancer Awareness Program for Community
In a unique partnership, the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) will collaborate on a breast cancer study that aims to improve outcomes for breast cancer patients.
The project is the brainchild of Richard Levy, Ph.D., a longtime community philanthropist and business leader, who said he saw an opportunity for the two medical centers to share expertise on a subject that is of great interest to him—improving cancer survival. He and his wife, Susan, will provide a gift of $2.1 million for the three-year study, which will focus on both the medical and psychosocial factors that contribute to cancer treatment and survival.
“From the point of view of patients, what makes for good health is good technology and good environmental factors, such as the doctor/patient relationship, nutrition, exercise and lifestyle factors,” said Levy, a resident of nearby Portola Valley, Calif. “Patients need both. Here we have two world-class institutions in both areas. It’s a natural partnership.”
Although scientists at the two medical centers have worked together over the years on many projects, this is the first time the two institutions have officially partnered with the intent of building a long-term collaborative relationship in research.
Levy is the former president and CEO of Varian Medical Systems in Palo Alto, where he has spent the last 40 years. He has longstanding ties to both Stanford and PAMF. He has served on the board of PAMF for the past 10 years and its parent, Sutter Health, for the last three. A nuclear chemist by training, he and his colleagues at Varian worked closely over the years with Stanford scientists in the Department of Radiation Oncology to pioneer linear accelerators for cancer treatment. Levy retired as CEO in 2006 but remains the company’s chairman of the board. He is also active in initiatives involving philanthropy and health-care reform.
Levy said he hopes the study will not only lead to improvements in cancer care but also point to ways of reducing medical-care costs nationally.
“If PAMFand Stanford can find a way to provide better care at lower cost, that will set an example for other communities,” he said.
In the study, physicians and scientists at both organizations will follow the journey of hundreds of patients throughout the course of their treatment with an eye to understanding the role of cancer biology and different patterns of care in outcomes and quality. The researchers will document every aspect of the patients’ treatment, including all tests, drug infusions, surgeries and radiation treatments, as well as nonmedical support they receive, such as yoga, alternative therapies or group therapy.
The Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) has become one of the first oncology practices in the nation to be recognized by the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) Certification Program, an affiliate of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The QOPI® Certification Program is a new initiative to certify oncology practices that meet rigorous standards for high-quality cancer care.
“Increasingly educated patients and families demand accountability and the highest standards from cancer care providers,” said Douglas W. Blayney, M.D., immediate past president of ASCO. “The QOPI certification will allow oncologists in the community to be at the forefront of cancer care, and to be recognized for their quality. The Certification Program will help practices determine whether they are providing the best treatment and care possible to their patients, and demonstrates a commitment to excellence and ongoing quality improvement in the hematology-oncology outpatient practice.”
In this patient-created video, women who are Palo Alto Medical Foundation breast cancer patients, survivors, advocates share stories and information about breast cancer – from diagnosis, treatment and recovery. The women, their family members and doctors share their inspirational stories of care and growth through fighting breast cancer to inform, educate and help others who may have been diagnosed with – or are dealing with breast cancer. “You can do this!” says one survivor.