The Report to the Nation provides a wealth of information. What is different or notable about this year's report?
This year we gave a fair amount of attention to many types of cancers because it's important to bring attention to the full spectrum of cancer as it affects all people. We were also very intentional about providing substantial information about survival. That's what makes a resource like this so valuable, because the data can be used to describe the burden of cancer, the past successes, and the challenges for the future in a whole host of cancer sites for different population groups.
Survivorship is an area of intense focus. How did you handle that in the Report?
We knew that it's difficult to document progress via survival data, so we included all of the caveats. The increases in screening, for example, can actually alter the proportion of patients who have early-stage disease, which is going to improve the survival figure. Some people have argued that this skews the results. The data show that with effective screening and with improved treatments, over a long time ultimately you will lower the population mortality rates.
So a report like this really has many uses for the entire cancer community?
Yes. We've heard from many people that the Report often serves as a key resource document for their work. They know they can turn to it to bring them up to date on incidence, mortality, and, this year of course, there is a lot of survival data. It's a little easier to use than posting hundreds of pages on the Web.