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The rate of newly diagnosed cancer cases (incidence) is one way to measure progress against cancer. A lower rate of new cases suggests greater progress is being made.
Another important measure is the proportion of cancers diagnosed at a later stage of development. The stage of a cancer shows how far the disease has progressed and spread within the body. The earlier the stage at diagnosis, the better the chances are for a cure. Downward trends in the proportion of late cancer diagnoses are a sign that screening is working for cancers for which early detection methods are available.
This section of the Cancer Trends Progress Report 2009/2010 Update provides data on the rates of new cancers, based on the NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, by cancer site and by racial and ethnic group. Also included are data on the proportion of cancers diagnosed at a late stage for five of the major cancer sites where cancer screening has been shown to make a difference in outcomes and is recommendedor is being widely usedas in the case of prostate cancer screening. Cancer sites include the female breast, colon, rectum, cervix, and prostate.