Overall Cancer Cases and Deaths Continue to Decline for the Greater Bay Area

For Some Cancers, Incidence Rates Are Increasing Among All Racial/Ethnic Groups

FREMONT, CA (June 5, 2018) — The rates of newly diagnosed cancer cases (incidence) and deaths (mortality) decreased significantly over the past 28 years according to the newly released report from the Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC).

The Greater Bay Area is one of the most ethnically diverse regions in the country with a total population of approximately 7 million. The Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry, operated by CPIC as part of the California Cancer Registry, collects information according to state law on all newly diagnosed cancers in residents of nine Greater Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz).

California cancer incidence and mortality rates have been tracked since 1988. Monitoring cancer rates is important for understanding who gets cancer, and what cancer types are increasing or decreasing in incidence or mortality. This allows us to understand the impact of cancer prevention and screening programs.

From 2011-2015, the annual rate of newly diagnosed cancer cases declined by an average of 15 percent among males and 4.2 percent among females in the Greater Bay Area. During this time period, there were 157,159 new cancer cases diagnosed in the Greater Bay Area. In 2015 alone, 31,361 new cases of cancer were diagnosed.

Decreasing incidence of some types of cancers is due in part to greater uptake of cancer screening and improved prevention such as the increase in colorectal cancer screening and the reduction in the number of smokers.

For both males and females, the rates of newly diagnosed cancers declined for several cancer sites including colorectal, lung, bladder, and stomach cancers over the past 10 years alone. Mortality rates also declined for several of the most common cancers over this time period including colorectal, lung and stomach cancers.

Across racial/ethnic groups, the overall rate of newly diagnosed cancer was highest for black males and white females. Asians/Pacific Islanders had the lowest overall rate of newly diagnosed cancer for both males and females.

Over the most recent five-year period, lung, breast, prostate, colorectal, and pancreatic cancer deaths collectively accounted for 50 percent of all cancer deaths in the Greater Bay Area.

According to Scarlett Lin Gomez, Director of the Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry, “While we continue to observe declining incidence rates across many cancers, the incidence rates of some cancers are increasing among particular racial/ethnic groups. Increased attention needs to be focused on the reasons for these increases, and on directing effective prevention strategies toward these groups.”

The report highlights data on new cancer cases and cancer death rates by cancer site, sex, and racial/ethnic background, and provides regional and statewide comparisons. Key highlights for the five most common cancers among Greater Bay Area residents are listed below.

  • Breast Cancer

    • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Greater Bay Area females accounting for about one-third of all invasive cancers diagnosed annually.

    • From 2011 through 2015, 25,603 new invasive breast cancers were diagnosed in women in the Greater Bay Area, and 128,158 in California.

    • From 1988 through 2015, the incidence rates for white and Hispanic women declined, while the rate for Asian/Pacific Islander women increased. For black women, the rate has remained stable.

    • The Greater Bay Area rate of newly diagnosed breast cancers for all races/ethnicities combined was significantly higher than California.

    • Breast cancer death rates declined in all racial/ethnic groups from 1988-2015.

    • From 2011 through 2015, breast cancer death rates varied by race/ethnicity, with the highest rate in black women (28.6 per 100,000) followed by white women (20.9).

  • Prostate Cancer

    • Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Greater Bay Area males.

    • Among all men, a significant decline in the incidence rate of cancer was observed from 2010 through 2015 with an average decline of 12.3 percent per year.

    • Compared to all of California, Greater Bay Area males had a higher rate of new prostate cancers from 2011-2015.

    • Prostate cancer death rates have steadily declined for all racial/ethnic groups by an average of 3.6 percent per year since 1991.

    • The prostate cancer death rate in black males was five times the rate in Asian/Pacific Islander males, nearly triple the rate in Hispanics and more than twice the rate in whites from 2011 through 2015.

  • Lung and Bronchus Caner

    • The rate of new lung cancer cases for all Greater Bay Area residents combined continued to decrease by an average of 3 percent per year from 2007 through 2015.

    • Despite declining rates, lung cancer continues to be the second most common cancer diagnosis among males and females in the Greater Bay Area.

    • Lung and bronchus cancer remains a top contributor to cancer deaths, linked to 22.3 percent of all male cancer deaths and 21.6 percent of all females cancer deaths from 2011-2015.

    • New lung and bronchus cancer cases and death rates were highest among black males and females.

  • Melanoma

    • Melanoma is the second most common cancer diagnosed among white males in the Greater Bay Area.

    • From 2011-2015, the incidence of melanoma was almost eight times higher among whites than Hispanics, and low among blacks and Asians/Pacific Islanders.

    • From 2008 through 2015, the incidence rate of melanoma increased at an average of 3.1 percent per year. This rate of increase was significantly lower than the 8.2 percent average increase observed from 2002-2008.

    • Over the past decade, the rate of new melanoma cases diagnosed among whites has been significantly higher and increased more rapidly in the Greater Bay Area than in California overall.

    • Melanoma death rates decreased for females since 2009 by an average of 6.5% per year; however, for males, mortality rates have remained stable.

    • The death rate was twice as high among white men, compared to white women, a difference that is poorly understood.

  • Colorectal Cancer

    • Colorectal cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer among Greater Bay Area males and females.

    • Colorectal cancer is more common among males than females.

    • From 2011-2015, the rate for blacks was higher than for other racial/ethnic groups in both males (49.2 per 100,000) and females (43.4).

    • Newly diagnosed colorectal cancer rates for white and black males in the Greater Bay Area were lower than in California for 2011-2015. For Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander males, rates in the Greater Bay Area were similar to rates in California.

    • For females, rates in the Greater Bay Area were similar to rates in California for all racial/ethnic groups from 2011-2015.

    • The rate of new cancer cases and deaths has declined among men and women in all racial/ethnic groups since 1988.

Read the full review for a comprehensive overview of new cancer cases and mortality rates in the Greater Bay Area.

This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. HHSN261201300005I. The collection of cancer incidence data used in this study was supported by the California Department of Public Health pursuant to California Health and Safety Code Section 103885; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Program of Cancer Registries, under cooperative agreement 5NU58DP003862-04/DP003862.

About the Cancer Prevention Institute of California

The Cancer Prevention Institute of California is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing cancer and to reducing its burden where it cannot yet be prevented. We are the only freestanding research institution working solely to prevent cancer using extensive population data. Our researchers study a wide range of cancer risk factors, such as racial/ethnic background, socioeconomic status, age, occupation, gender, genetic predisposition, geographic location, environment and lifestyle to determine how these factors affect frequency, distribution and types of cancers. For more information, visit the CPIC website at www.cpic.org.

Media Contact:

Donna Lock, 510-608-5160 | [email protected]