TUESDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Forty years after President Nixon signed the National Cancer Act into law and pledged to put the country's resources to work to find better treatments for cancer, substantial victories have been scored against some, but not all, cancers.
That's the core finding of a new report, the AACR Cancer Progress Report 2011, released Tuesday by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).
The National Cancer Act promised more funding for cancer research and prevention. Since then, death rates for many cancers have dropped significantly. From 1990 to 2007, death rates for all cancers combined dropped 22 percent for men and 14 percent for women, resulting in nearly 900,000 fewer deaths during that time, according to the report.
Today, more than 68 percent of adults live five years or more after being diagnosed, up from 50 percent in 1975. The five-year survival rate for all childhood cancers combined is 80 percent, compared to 52 percent in 1975.
There are about 12 million cancer survivors living in the United States; 15 percent of them were diagnosed 20 or more years ago.
Some of the biggest successes: Breast cancer deaths fell about 28 percent from 1990 to 2006, while deaths from cervical cancer have dropped nearly 31 percent. Colorectal deaths have fallen 28 percent in women and 33 percent in men; deaths from leukemia have fallen nearly 15 percent in women and 10 percent in men; and deaths from stomach cancer have fallen 34 percent in women and 43 percent in men.
Many more men are also surviving prostate cancer, with death rates falling 39 percent.
And those figures reflect outcomes for people who were diagnosed several years or more ago, said report co-chair Elizabeth Blackburn, a professor of biology and physiology in the department of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Franci
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