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Report: Decrease in Cancer Deaths, Lung Cancer Deaths among Women

Deaths from cancer continue to decrease in the United States, according to an annual published by the National Cancer Institute, the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Cancer Society. Moreover, for the first time in 40 years, the report finds that lung cancer deaths in women have decreased. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women and men.

The report found that new cancer cases were down about 1 percent between 2003 and 2007, and deaths from cancer decreased by about 1.6 percent. Lung cancer deaths in women dropped about 1 percent during the time period, for the first time in decades. Lung cancer deaths in men had been declining for about a decade, according to the report.

Cancer diagnoses did increase for some types of cancer though. Among men, new cases of liver, kidney, and pancreatic cancer and melanoma increased between 2003 and 2007. Also, deaths rose for liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, and melanoma among men. Among women, new cases of kidney, thyroid, and pancreatic cancers and leukemia and melanoma increased during the time period—as did deaths from pancreatic and liver cancer. Death from uterine cancer also increased. In children (under 19 years of age), cancer diagnoses increased but deaths from cancer decreased.

"It is gratifying to see the continued steady decline in overall cancer incidence and death rates in the United States -- the result of improved methods for preventing, detecting, and treating several types of cancer," said Harold Varmus, M.D., director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute in a news release. "But the full repertoire of numbers reported today also reflects the enormous complexity of cancer, with different trends for different kinds of cancers, important differences among our diverse people, and different capabilities to prevent, detect, and treat various cancers. Moreover, as our population continues to age, we have an obligation to discover and deliver better ways to control all types of cancers."


The report was published in the March 31, 2011 edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute,