The Cancer Death Rate Decline Has Doubled

Recent findings in a report published in the latest issue of Cancer shows cancer death rates dropped steadily on average 2.1 percent per year from 2002 through 2004, nearly twice the annual decrease of 1.1 percent per year from 1993 through 2002. Despite overall higher death rates for men, the declines from 2002 through 2004 were 2.6 percent per year among men and 1.8 percent per year among women. Additionally, death rates decreased for the majority of the top 15 cancers in men and women. The leading causes of cancer in men: lung, prostate, and colorectal cancers experienced noticeable declines. And in women, the death rates from colorectal cancer and breast cancer decreased, with the rate of increase for lung cancer deaths slowing significantly.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention directer, Julie Gerberding, claims that, "The significant decline in cancer death rates demonstrates important progress in the fight against cancer that has been achieved through effective tobacco control, screening, early detection, and appropriate treatment."

 The rate at which new cancers are diagnosed also dropped a little during the period between 1992 and 2004 for both men and women. The incidence rate for breast cancer fell substantially during the 2001-2004 period and is believed to be partly due to the decreased use of hormone replacement therapy and recent decline in use of screening mammography.

After long term increases, lung cancer incidence among women leveled off during the 1998-2004 period and, for men, declined 1.8% annually among males for the period 1991-2004. Chief executive officer at the American Cancer Society, John Seffrin, believes, "The evidence is unmistakable: we are truly turning the tide in the cancer battle. The gains could be even greater if everyone in the U.S. had access to essential healthcare, including primary care and prevention services."


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