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U.S. Cancer Rates Continue to Fall
Date:3/31/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- The rate of new cancers in the United States has dropped by almost 1 percent a year and the rate of death from cancer has fallen 1.6 percent a year, a new report shows.

These declines, seen between 2003 and 2007, continue a trend that began in the 1990s, the researchers added.

Importantly, this is the first time a drop in the rate of deaths from lung cancer among women has been seen, coming a decade after lung cancer death rates started declining in men, they noted.

"The drop in lung cancer rates among women is due to women quitting smoking," said report co-author Lynn Ries, a health statistician at the U.S. National Cancer Institute. "Women started smoking a lot later than men, so the peak in the mortality rate occurred a lot later," she added.

The report is the work of researchers at the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, the U.S. National Cancer Institute, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Cancer Society. It is published in the March 31 online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Although cancer rates are declining in adults, there has been a rise in cancers diagnosed in children. Most of these involve increases in the incidence of leukemias. However, the rate of death from cancer among children is declining, Ries noted.

Ries noted that the reasons for the increase in childhood cancers isn't clear.

Among men, the overall cancer rate has remained about the same. In fact, cancer rates in men would have also shown a decline, except for a small rise in the rate of prostate cancer, according to the report.

One section of the report focuses specifically on both brain and nervous system cancers and benign tumors. According to the report, benign brain tumors are twice as common as cancerous ones, Ries said.

In fact, benign
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