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U.S. Cancer Rate-Death Rate Combo Drops for 1st Time
Date:11/25/2008

But smoking-related cancers continue to rise in some regions of country, report finds

TUESDAY, Nov. 25 (HealthDay News) -- For the first time since such statistics were released in 1998, the number of men and women in the United States getting and dying from cancer has dropped.

The drop in cancer rates is mostly due to fewer cases of lung, prostate and colorectal cancer among men, and fewer cases of breast and colorectal cancer among women. Also, death rates from lung cancer have leveled off among women since 2003, a new report found.

Still, large state and regional differences in lung cancer trends among women highlight the need to increase many state tobacco-control programs, said the study's authors.

"We are making progress in the fight against cancer," said report co-author Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, director of the American Cancer Society's Cancer Occurrence Office. "There is a decrease in incidence and death rate for all cancers combined in both men and women and in almost all racial and ethnic groups."

Still, the progress could have been better, Jemal said. "If we were to insure all Americans to have access to care, then we could have applied cancer prevention and treatment to all segments of the population, he said.

By paying more attention to healthful behaviors such as not smoking, the cancer rate would drop even more, Jemal said. "There are 43 million Americans who smoke, and that's unacceptable. Smoking is the single most preventable cause of cancer. A third of all cancers are due to smoking," he said.

The report, titled the "Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2005, Featuring Trends in Lung Cancer, Tobacco Use and Tobacco Control," is issued annually 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. It was published in the De
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