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A report from the nation's leading cancer organizations shows rates
of death in the United States from all cancers for men and women
continued to decline between 2003 and 2007.
The findings come from the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the
Status of Cancer.
The report also finds that the overall rate of new cancer diagnoses
for men and women combined decreased an average of slightly less than
one percent per year for the same period.
Edward J. Benz, Jr., MD, president of Dana-Farber Cancer in Institute
in Boston, called the news encouraging, but cautions we still have a
very long way to go in our fight against cancer.
"Overall, the rate of cancer deaths is falling, but not by a lot, not
nearly enough," said Benz. "But considering that the incidence of
cancer continues to increase, while the number of deaths is flat or
falling a little bit, it does suggest that efforts of prevention, early
detection, and better treatments are having a positive impact."
The report is co-authored by researchers from the North American
Association of Central Cancer Registries, the National Cancer Institute,
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Cancer
It will be on the website of the Journal of the National Cancer
Institute on March 31, and will be published in the journal's May
14 print issue.
The authors of the report emphasized the need to focus further on
reducing the cancer burden in the population as a whole through
prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer.
"One of the best ways to avoid dying of cancer is to prevent it in
the first place," added Dr. Benz.
"This involves making lifestyle adjustments, such as not smoking,
being careful about exposure to the sun, your diet, and exercise, and
being careful about exposure to chemicals in the workplace," he added.
"Patients also need to be sure to participate with their primary care
physician in the kinds of screening that can pick up cancers very