Cancer Rates Falling Steadily in U.S.

Cancer rates, both of death and diagnosis, are declining steadily for men, women, and most racial and ethnic populations within the United States.

An assessment of cancer trends produced by the U.S. National Cancer Institute in conjunction with the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society, and the North American Association of Central Caner Registries found that new diagnoses for all types of cancer combined decreased an average of almost 1 percent a year from 1999 to 2006, and deaths attributed to cancer decreased 1.6 percent a year from 2001 to 2006.

Doctors are confident that the rates will continue falling as more and more research unlocks secrets of how different cancers begin and develop.

"We're beginning to understand that each cancer has an individual pathway to development," Dr. Alan G. Thorson, a clinical professor surgery and director of colon and rectal surgery at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. told HealthDay News. "We know now how to look at cancer, find its source and go for that source, which makes all the difference in the world."

The drop in cancer incidence and deaths has been propelled mainly be advances made in detecting and treating the major types of cancer in men and women, according to the report.

There's no single explanation for the drop in major cancers, doctors said. Rather, the decreases are attributed to effective detection and treatment tools designed for each form of cancer.

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