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Cancer Death Rates Still Declining
Date:2/20/2008

But report notes rate of decrease slowed from 2004 to 2005, with 5,424 more deaths

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Good news continues to come forth from the cancer front: U.S. death rates from the disease have declined by 18.4 percent among men and by 10.5 percent among women since mortality rates first started going down in the early 1990s.

In 2008, an estimated 1,437,180 new cancers will be diagnosed, and 565,650 people will die of the disease, according to a report released Wednesday from the American Cancer Society (ACS). Death rates were at their highest for men in 1990, and for women in 1991.

Although the rate of cancer deaths decreased from 2004 to 2005, there was an increase in number of actual deaths (5,424) in 2005 compared to 2004, the report showed.

"We do not know why the declines in death rate from 2004 to 2005 slowed, compared to the previous two years," said Ahmedin Jemal, strategic director for cancer surveillance at the ACS. "But we can say that this occurred for almost all of the major cancer sites for men and women, which include colon and rectum in both men and women, breast cancer in women, and prostate cancer in men."

"Death rates from cancer continue to decrease because of prevention, early detection and treatment," Jemal added. "These have been decreasing from the early '90s and, really, because of this decrease, over half a million deaths from cancer have been avoided."

Jemal is first author of Cancer Statistics 2008, which is published in the March/April issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The report has been an annual fixture since 1952.

"This is both good news and bad news," said Dr. Louis Weiner, director of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. "The good news is that cancer rates continue to decline, and that the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans have been saved o
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