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U.S. Cancer Death Rate Continues to Fall
Date:10/15/2007

Report finds a doubling of the rate of decline over past decade

MONDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Death rates from cancer are dropping more quickly across the United States, offering what an expert called a "glimmer of hope" against a leading killer.

According to a new report, cancer death rates fell by 2.1 percent each year from 2002 through 2004 -- almost double the 1.1 percent annual decline recorded between 1993 and 2003.

"That's a very encouraging finding. It's the key indicator of progress in cancer," said Dr. David Espey, a cancer epidemiologist from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta who was assigned to the Indian Health Service Division of Epidemiology and Disease Control, in Albuquerque, N.M.

Espey is lead author of the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2004, Featuring Cancer in American Indians and Alaska Natives. appearing in the Nov. 15 issue of the journal Cancer.

The acceleration in decline of cancer deaths is "a good news story," added Dr. Corey J. Langer, director of thoracic and head and neck medical oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. "It's the first glimmer of hope in a long time," he said.

The report, which appears annually, is a joint effort from 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.

Data on new cancer diagnoses came from state and regional population-based cancer registries, while data on cancer deaths came from the CDC's National Vital Statistics System.

Most of the top 15 cancers in both men and women experienced declines in death rates. Notably, men saw declines in death rates for lung, prostate and colorectal cancers, while women saw declines in colorectal and breast cancer. In addition, the increase in death rates from
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