Medicine: Cancer: What Progress?

The battle against cancer is not going as well as federal officials have claimed, according to the General Accounting Office. In a report submitted to Congress last week, the agency charged that biases in statistics often cited by the National Cancer Institute as a yardstick of success "artificially inflate the amount of 'true' progress."

GAO investigators focused on changes between 1950 and 1982 in the five- year survival rates for victims of twelve types of cancer. Advances in detection and treatment, they conceded, had resulted in improvements in these survival rates (measured from the time of diagnosis), except for stomach cancer....

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