Quoted from Living Downstream:
Cancer mortality is calculated as the number of cancer deaths each year per 100,000 persons. It stands at about 200/100,000, a figure that has not budged much for sixty years. Mortality data reveal that we have failed to substantially reduce the deaths from cancer in spite of massive funding for cancer treatment research. Cancer mortality in 2005 was 10 percent lower than it was in the 1970s and a mere 6 percent lower than in 1950. Reduction in smoking rates accounts for most of the lives saved. Mortality rates reveal no substantial declines in the burden of cancer for middle-aged adults. For persons 45-64, cancer remains not only our leading cause of death, it kills more of us each year than heart disease, accidents, and stroke combined.
Nowhere is this more true than childhood cancers, which jumped in incidence by 22 percent between 1973 and 2000 even as the death rate fell by 45 percent. Using mortality to measure the occurrence of cancer in children today would create a falsely rosy picture. Improved treatment may be saving more children from death, but every year more children are diagnosed with cancer than the year before. Increases are most apparent for leukemia (up 35 percent), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (up 33 percent), soft tissue cancers (up 50 percent), kidney cancer (up 45 percent), and brain and nervous system tumors (up 44 percent). Cancer among children provides a particularly intimate glimpse into the possible routes of exposure to contaminants in the general environment and their possible significance for rising cancer rates among adults. It’s hard to blame children’s cancers on dangerous lifestyle choices. The lifestyle of toddlers has not changed much over the past half century. Young children do not smoke, drink alcohol, or hold stressful jobs. Children do, however, receive a greater dose of whatever chemicals are present in air, food, and water because, pound for pound, they breathe, eat, and drink more than adults do. In proportion to their body weight, children drink 2.5 times more water, eat 3 to 4 times more food, and breathe 2 times more air. They are also affected by parental exposures before conception, as well as by exposures in the womb and in breast milk.
Steingraber, Sandra (2010-03-23). Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment (pp. 44-46). Da Capo Press. Kindle Edition.