Statement by The Commonwealth Fund on Prostate Cancer Statistics

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<p>For further information contact Mary Mahon, <a href="mailto:[email protected]">[email protected],</a&gt; 212-606-3853 or Bethanne Fox, <a href="mailto:[email protected]">[email protected],</a&gt; 301-567-6359<bR><Br><strong>To Health Care Reporters and Editors:</strong><BR><br>The Summer 2007 issue of <em>City Journal</em> included an article authored by David Gratzer, M.D., that says the U.S. prostate cancer survival rate is 81.2 percent and the U.K. survival rate is 44.3 percent. According to, Gratzer has cited a seven-year-old Commonwealth Fund report as his source for the statistics. In fact, the five-year survival data cited in the <em>City Journal</em> article do not come from The Commonwealth Fund report, and cannot be calculated from that report. What the report, <em><a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=30394&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecommonwealthfund%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D221236%26%23doc221236">Multinational Comparisons of Health Systems Data, 2000</a></em> by Gerard F. Anderson and Peter S. Hussey of Johns Hopkins University, includes are data on prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates in the two countries.<bR><br>Specifically, The Commonwealth Fund report features a chart showing that, in 1997, the incidence of prostate cancer in the U.S. was 136 per 100,000 males and the mortality rate (death rate) was 26 per 100,000 males. By comparison, in the U.K. the prostate cancer incidence was 49 per 100,000 and the death rate was 28 deaths per 100,000. (The prostate cancer incidence rate--which is the number of men diagnosed with the disease in a given year--in the U.S. is thought to be higher because prostate cancer screening is much more common in this country.) Five-year survival rates cannot be calculated from incidence and mortality rates, as any good epidemiologist knows.<br><br>The incorrect survival statistics in the <em>City Journal</em> article have since been used in speeches and a radio ad by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The Commonwealth Fund believes it is important that all presidential candidates have accurate and reliable information.</p>