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U.S. Cancer Cases, Deaths Continue to Drop
Date:12/7/2009

Report says lifestyle changes, better screening and treatment explain decrease

MONDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Better screening, healthier living and new treatments have all continued to help cut the annual number of cancer cases and deaths in the United States, a new report says.

The findings showed that new cancer cases and deaths from cancer have declined significantly for both men and women and for most racial/ethnic populations.

These decreases were largely due to decreased incidence and death from lung, prostate and colon cancer among men and a drop in two of the three leading cancers in women (breast and colon cancers). New diagnoses for all types of cancer in the United States declined almost 1 percent per year from 1999 to 2006 and cancer deaths dropped 1.6 percent per year from 2001 to 2006.

The report, which appears in the Dec. 7 online edition of Cancer, was compiled from data by the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.

"For me, when I see the downturn in some cancers it says we can actually address the cancer burden through a variety of efforts," said report author Brenda K. Edwards, associate director of the Surveillance Research Program at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

But the battle against cancer continues, she stressed. "We see the downturn in mortality, but we still have almost 1.5 million people with new cancer diagnoses in 2009. So, we still have a large number of people affected. For some of them, we have relatively effective treatments and for others not so."

Edwards noted that for the cancers that have seen the biggest decreases, such as breast and colon cancer, effective screening methods probably explain the downward trend, although there are still too few people who take advantage of them.

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