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Cancer Patterns in Alameda County, California

Abstract

There has been a general increase in the incidence of cancer of most major sites during the period 1960-69; this is true even when allowances are made for shifts in the age composition of the population. Improvements in diagnostic procedures may account for some of these increases but it is doubtful that they are solely responsible for the greater incidence recorded.

A few sites stand out as being primarily responsible for the increase in the overall cancer incidence. Lung cancer is increasing in both males and females; the rate of increase, however, is much greater among females. It is generally acknowledged that women began smoking cigarettes at a later point in time and to a lesser extent. The pattern which has emerged indicates that females are experiencing a similar trend in lung cancer incidence to that of males. The increase in the incidence of female breast cancer is also noteworthy, although the forces producing this change can only be speculated upon. The high incidence of prostatic cancer among negroes and the increase in the incidence of prostatic cancer in whites are subjects which deserve further investigation, especially since the Alameda County experience is not duplicated in data from the Connecticut Tumour Registry. One of the most encouraging findings is that the incidence of stomach cancer appears to be declining.

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