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National Cancer Report: Fewer Dying, But News isn’t All Good

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fewer dying of cancer according to national report but not all news is good Michael Travers/Nicemonkey/PhotoSpin

Fewer people are dying from the most common cancer types, a new report from the leading U.S. cancer organizations says.

The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer shows that steady progress has been made in curbing the nation’s most deadly cancers, including, breast, colon, lung and prostate cancers.

Death rates have steadily fallen for men and women in all major racial and ethnic groups between 2000-2009.

The report, co-authored by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, the National Cancer Institute, and the American Cancer Society, also found that the overall cancer incidence rate for men decreased and remained stable for women during the same period.

Edward J. Benz, Jr., MD, president of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, called the news encouraging, but said that the overall number of cancer incidences and mortality rates are not falling nearly enough.

"Cancer rates are declining, continuing a trend that started some years ago. People are surviving more and we are getting better at preventing some cancers," said Benz in a written statement. "But we're not taking advantage of all the ways to detect cancers at an early stage when they can be the most curable."

Among children, 14 years old or younger, new cancer cases increased 0.6 percent each year from 1992 through 2009, but researchers don’t yet know why. However, the report points out that considerable progress has been seen for many types of childhood cancers, resulting in overall declines in death rates for cancer among children since at least 1975.

Just a few years ago, lung cancer death rates were steadily increasing among women while they were steadily declining in men. Experts saw a correlation between an increase in the number of women smoking, new lung cancer cases and the lung cancer mortality.

But now, for the third straight year, lung cancer death rates are dropping among women as smoking declines, mirroring declines seen in men since the early 1990s.

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