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Cancer fatalities drop in U.S.

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http://www.mydna.com/health/ovarian_can ... fatal.html

Mon 17 Oct 2005 10:49 am CST


According to the "Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2002," published in the Oct. 5, 2005, issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the nation's leading cancer organizations report that Americans' risk of dying from cancer continues to decline and that the rate of new cancers is holding steady. The report shows that observed cancer death rates from all cancers combined dropped 1.1 percent per year from 1993 to 2002. According to the report's authors, declines in death rates reflect progress in prevention, early detection, and treatment; however, not all segments of the U.S. population benefited equally from advances.

National Cancer Institute Director Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., says that "These numbers reflect a trend in reduction of cancer mortality that has now persisted for nine years. This can only be considered good news for the millions of cancer survivors who have benefited from recent research and treatment advances and emphasizes the expectation that we will achieve a time when no one will suffer or die from cancer."

Death rates from all cancers combined declined 1.5 percent per year from 1993 to 2002 in men, compared to a 0.8 percent decline in women from 1992 to 2002. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. Death rates decreased for 12 of the top 15 cancers in men, and nine of the top 15 cancers in women.

"Declines in mortality rates from many tobacco-related cancers in men represent an important, but incomplete, triumph of public health in the 21st century," said John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society. "These trends reinforce the importance of tobacco control programs in the U.S., as well as measures to combat the increase in tobacco use in other parts of the world, particularly in developing countries."

Overall cancer incidence rates (the rate at which new cancers are diagnosed) for both sexes have been stable since 1992. Incidence rates were stable in men from 1995 to 2002 and increased 0.3 percent annually in women since 1987 to 2002. The persistent increase in overall cancer incidence rates for women can be attributed to increases in rates for breast and six other cancers: non-Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma, leukemia, and thyroid, bladder and kidney cancer. However, according to more recent data from 1998 to 2002, female lung cancer incidence rates have begun to stabilize after increasing for many years, which is good news. Changes in overall incidence may result from changes in the prevalence of risk factors and from changes in detection practices due to introduction or increased use of screening and/or diagnostic techniques.

"Day by day we are winning the war against cancer as more people than ever before are being screened and are receiving treatments necessary for them to lead healthy and productive lives," said Center for Disease Control Director, Julie Gerberding, M.D. "However, there are gaps and missed opportunities so we must continue to pull out all the stops to ensure proper screening and access to treatment regardless of one's age, race, or geographic location

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