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New Jersey Health Statistics

Priority Area
Prevent, Detect and Control Cancer



The total female breast cancer death rate has declined since 1985 and in 1997 was below the year 2000 target. If current trends continue, it is likely that the year 2000 objective will be met. The death rate for females 50 through 64 years old met the year 2000 target in 1994 through 1997 and while the death rate for females 65 and over has remained above the target since 1985, it appears to be approaching the year 2000 target quickly enough to meet the objective level.


Because the average time span for development of lung cancer is lengthy (generally more than a decade), health objectives for this condition for the year 2000 were directed toward slowing the rate of increase in the death rate. Although the lung cancer death rate for minority males continues to be substantially higher than the total rate, the trend in the minority male rate has been dramatically downward and the gap has narrowed. The year 2000 objective has been met for this subgroup. The total lung cancer death rate has remained basically unchanged during recent years, but still has met the year 2000 objective for the entire period by not increasing.


Age-adjusted death rates from colorectal cancer have steadily declined in recent years. The original year 2000 objective for this condition was met very early in the decade. This led to a downward revision in the target in order to promote further decrease in the death rate. The year 2000 target was achieved in 1997 and, given the downward trend, it appears that the rate will remain below the target for the balance of the decade.



In the country as a whole, cervical cancer deaths declined dramatically throughout the 1970s and 1980s. This decline is thought to be due primarily to the widespread use of the Pap test for early detection of cervical cancer (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 1990). Although the state has also experienced a decline in cervical cancer mortality since the early 1970s, the death rate appears to have basically stabilized since 1985 in the total, minority and elderly populations. Though death rates from this cause remain higher in minority women than in the total population, the gap is narrowing. In the elderly population, however, death rates remain substantially higher than in either total or minority women. It appears unlikely that the year 2000 objective will be met by the population 65 and over and uncertain that it will be met by the total and minority populations.

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