NJ trails nation in cancer survival rate

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NJTRENTON, N.J. - More New Jerseyans are surviving cancer, but the state survival rate still trails the national rate, according to a state report issued Tuesday.

Some 61 percent of New Jersey residents diagnosed with cancer from 1994 to 1997 lived at least five years afterward, compared with 47 percent for 1979 to 1983, the state Department of Health and Senior Service found. The national rate is 64 percent.

Dr. Eddy Bresnitz, state deputy health commissioner, said the difference between the state and national rates was not large.

The department did note a significant racial disparity, however, with survival rates for white men and women about 10 percentage points higher than those for black men and women. That was similar to the national racial gap.

Bresnitz said the racial differences may be because blacks are being diagnosed later since early detection generally means a better outcome. In addition, blacks may not have the same access to treatment and support services, he said.

The department also noted that survival rates vary greatly by type of cancer, sex and age.

The report found that the overall survival rate was boosted because people with the most common cancers — breast, cervical, colorectal, lung and prostate — were living longer than they did 20 years ago.

The state outpaces the nation in the survival rate for ovarian cancer, but lags when it comes to endometrial cancer and cancers of the cervix, skin, mouth and brain.

source - AP 

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