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December 25, 2018

Using Standardized “Cancer Clocks”

Author Affiliations
  • 1Taiwan Cancer Registry, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2Institute of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
JAMA. 2018;320(24):2535-2536. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.18756

Health authorities often communicate cancer risks to the general public in terms of new cases that occur over time, sometimes referred to as “cancer clocks.” For example, according to the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program website of the National Cancer Institute, in 2018, “a new cancer is diagnosed every 30 seconds in the United States of America”1; in 2017, the Cancer in Australia in Brief, published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, indicated that “Australians face one new case of cancer diagnosed every 4 minutes”2; and in 2016, the Taiwan Health Promotion Administration in Taipei suggested that “one new cancer case was diagnosed every 5 minutes and 18 seconds in the year 2013 in Taiwan, which is 8 seconds faster than in the previous year.”3 There are other examples of similar clocks used for specific cancers and other health conditions.