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May 16, 1977

Medical News

JAMA. 1977;237(20):2173-2179. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270470009001

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Apparent rise in cancer death rate fades on closer study of figures  No, Virginia, the cancer death rate did not really soar in 1975 as the headlines seemed to suggest. A closer look at the data shows that the age-adjusted cancer death rate actually declined—and at least part of the apparent increase can be blamed on influenza.So says the president of the American Cancer Society (ACS), R. Lee Clark, MD. Speaking at an ACS seminar in Sarasota, Fla, Dr Clark recalled:"For the first seven months of 1975, the National Center for Health Statistics [which uses a 10% sample of reported deaths to study current mortality trends] found the cancer death rate in this country suddenly had risen from 167.6 per 100,000 to 176.3. This is an increase, in a very short time, of 5.2%."This apparent 5.2% increase contrasted with an annual rise of about 1% in