Anal cancer is on the rise in both sexes, particularly among American men, and changing trends in sexual behavior – combined with current tobacco use and infection by a specific strain of the human papillomavirus – may help explain the increase. These findings, from two separate studies by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, will be reported in a pair of papers in the July 15 issue of Cancer. The first study, by lead author Lisa G. Johnson, Ph.D., a statistical-research associate in Fred Hutchinson’s Public Health Sciences Division, found that incidence rates of anal cancer have increased significantly in the past 30 years, jumping 160 percent in men and 78 percent in women.
The sharpest increase was among African-American men, whose incidence of anal cancer has more than doubled in the past three decades. Black men also had a lower survival rate from the disease. The five-year survival rate for black men with early stage disease was 62 percent as compared to 79 percent for white men with localized cancer. The study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, was based on the records of 6,093 anal-cancer patients (2,888 men and 4,015 women) diagnosed between 1973 and 2000. The data came from tumor registries in five states (Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, New Mexico and Utah) and four metropolitan areas (Atlanta, Detroit, San Francisco and Seattle), all of which are part of the NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results, or SEER, program.
The second study, led by epidemiologist Janet Daling, Ph.D., a member of Fred Hutchinson’s Public Health Sciences Division, set out to better understand the underlying biological and lifestyle causes behind the rising incidence of anal cancer.
Kristen Woodward | EurekAlert!
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