Incidence rates are crucial when it comes to critical illness.

For example, in 2001, there are 192,000 estimated new cases in the U.S. of breast cancer in females, yet the anticipated U.S. deaths are 40,200. In this case, the incidence rate is almost five times the death rate. Mammography has resulted in many more breast cancers being identified at curable stages. As a result, the five-year survival is 96% for localized breast cancer, as compared with 77% if the cancer has spread regionally (Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Oct. 19, 2001).

As for prostate cancer, there are an estimated 180,400 new cases in the US, but only 31,900 deaths. The incidence rate for this type of cancer is nearly six times its death rate. Prostate cancers five-year survival approximates 100% of small-localized cancers. (Ibid.)

Meanwhile, we have also seen significant increases in life expectancy. In the 1900s, life expectancies were age 42 for males and 46 for females. In the year 2050, life expectancies are expected to increase to age 79 for males and 84 for females. In that 150-year span, life expectancy will have increased by 36 years for females and males combined (National Center for Health Statistics, 1999).

Such increases can be attributed to new drugs, therapies, diagnostic techniques and procedures, as well as improved socioeconomic factors.

–Robin James


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, November 12, 2001. Copyright 2001 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.


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