This year's report focused on trends in colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer, the third most-diagnosed cancer in both men and women, is also the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Overall, colon cancer rates are declining, but the decline is mostly among those over 65. Increasing numbers of cases in men and women under 50 is worrisome, the report noted.
Among both men and women, there were major declines in colorectal cancer cases from 1985 to 1995, minor increases from 1995 to 1998, and significant declines from 1998 to 2006. Since 1984, death rates also dropped, with accelerated rates of decline since 2002 for men and since 2001 for women.
In fact, from 1975 to 2000, cases of colorectal cancer fell 22 percent; 50 percent of which was most likely due to changes in lifestyle, and 50 percent to more people being screened.
In addition, deaths from colorectal cancer fell 26 percent during the same time; 9 percent of the drop came from lifestyle changes, 14 percent came from screening and 3 percent came from improved treatment, according to the report.
Going forward, if there were no changes in lifestyle, screening or treatment, there would be a 17 percent drop in colorectal cancer deaths from 2000 to 2020. However, if current trends remain the same, there will be a 36 percent drop in colorectal cancer deaths.
But, if more Americans adopted more healthy lifestyles, such as quitting smoking, and were screened for colon cancer and had access to optimal treatment (such as more effective chemotherapy), deaths from colon cancer could be reduced by 50 percent by 2020, the report predicted.
Other highlights from the report were that among men, cases of prostate, lung, oral cavity, stomach, brain, colon and rectum cancers have declined, but cases of kidney/ren
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