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Cancer Incidence, Death Rates Continue to Drop: Report
Date:1/4/2012

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Small but continued drops in cancer incidence and deaths in the United States in recent years are charted in a new report.

Between 2004 and 2008, death rates for cancer went down by 1.8 percent a year in men and 1.6 percent a year in women, the American Cancer Society (ACS) reported Wednesday.

And from 1990 through 2008, death rates plunged almost 23 percent for men and just over 15 percent for women.

"Cancer death rates in the U.S. have continued to decrease since the early 1990s," said Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, senior author of the new report, published online Jan. 4 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. "As a result of this, about a million cancer deaths were averted."

The decreases, said Jemal, who is vice president for surveillance research at the ACS, "largely reflect improvements in prevention, early detection and treatment."

The annual report is based on the most recent data available from the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Death rates dropped most dramatically among black men (2.4 percent per year) and Hispanic men (2.3 percent annually).

"It's an encouraging note that the decrease in cancer deaths was a little larger as a percentage in the African-American population," said Dr. Michael V. Seiden, president and CEO of Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. "This is wonderful to see because, as a group, they do much worse than whites. That's a gap we need to close."

The report also noted continued advances were made against the four major cancer killers -- lung, colorectum, breast and prostate. Declines in lung cancer deaths accounted for almost 40 percent of the total decline in men, and longer lives among breast cancer survivors resulted in 34 percent of the total drop in women.

Meanwhile, cancer incidence rates dipped 0.6 percent for
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