California's first statewide computerized cancer survey, made public Tuesday, turned up some interesting statistics, including the fact that men in smog-ridden Los Angeles County have one of the state's lowest lung cancer rates.
It also showed that San Francisco would be one of the safest places in California for people who want to avoid cancer, were it not for cancer cases among AIDS sufferers.Black males have the highest incidence of cancer of any group in the state, but cancer rates among black woman show little difference from those of white women. Cancer rates among Asians and Hispanics are lower than for other racial groups.
The newly established computer file of cancer cases among California's 30 million residents is only at the beginning of its use as a tool in the battle against cancer, said Dr. Kenneth Kizer, director of the state Department of Health Services. He said time and more money will be needed to exploit it as a jumping off point for significant future research.
Money may be a problem. Because of the recession and war in the Persian Gulf, the state government is bracing for a revenue shortage of up to $10 billion in the next 18 months.
California's Cancer Registry System began on a trial basis in 1984 when Orange County in the urban strip on the Southern California coast began feeding its case-by-case cancer statistics into a computer in Sacramento.
By 1987, cancer data from half the state was available for the program. The statistics released Tuesday were for 1988, the first full year for which data on cancer cases everywhere in California became available.