Steady decline in U.S. cancer rates observed

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Small, Steady Decline in Cancer Rates in U.S. Over Past Decade
Small, Steady Decline in Cancer Rates in U.S. Over Past Decade

(HealthDay News) -- America is making slow but steady progress against cancer, with a continuing decline in cancer deaths, according to a new report published online March 30 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The report was coauthored by experts from the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

The overall cancer death rate fell an average 1.5 percent per year between 2002 and 2011, representing improved survival for men, women, and children. The rate of new cancer cases also declined an average 0.5 percent a year during that period. However, the new report also indicates that cancer rates are rising for some rarer forms of cancer, including cancer of the liver, mouth and throat, thyroid, and kidneys.

Combining resources, the four groups concluded that cancer deaths fell 1.8 percent a year among men between 2002 and 2011, 1.4 percent a year for women, and just over 2 percent a year for children. New cancer cases fell slightly for men during that decade, while remaining level for women, according to the report. The incidence rate for new cancers in children 19 and younger increased, but by less than 1 percent a year.

Recinda Sherman, M.P.H., Ph.D., report coauthor and program manager of data use and research for the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries told HealthDay that advances in lung cancer are tied directly to fewer people smoking, while the decline in colon and breast cancers also are tied to prevention efforts. Prostate cancer rates also are declining, but experts are not exactly sure why that is occurring. Rarer cancers are on the rise for various reasons. Liver cancer, for instance, has increased due to long-lasting hepatitis C infections that occurred in drug-using baby boomers in the 1970s and early 1980s, Sherman said. Mouth and throat cancers also have been increasing among men, an increase likely is due to human papillomavirus infection, she said.

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