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Although cancer affects every age group, most cancers occur in people older than 65 years of age. Overall, the incidence of cancer is higher in men than in women and higher in industrialized sectors and nations.More than 1.2 million Americans are diagnosed each year with a cancer affecting one of various body sites (Fig. 16-1). Cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, more than 550,000 Americans die of a malignant process. In order of frequency, the leading causes of cancer deaths in the United States are lung, prostate, and colorectal cancer in men and lung, breast, and colorectal cancer in women (Jemal, Thomas, Murray & Thun, 2002).Relative 5-year survival rates for African Americans are lower for every cancer site when compared to whites. In the United States, cancer mortality in African Americans is higher than inany other racial group. This finding is related to the higher incidence and later stage of diagnosis among African Americans. The increased cancer morbidity and mortality for this group are largely related to economic factors, education, and barriers to health care rather than to racial characteristics (Greenlee et al., 2000).
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