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Researchers Report Significant Progress against Cancer

12/8/2009

The number of Americans who die each year from cancer and related conditions has continued to fall in recent years thanks to improved healthcare technology and other factors.

According to the National Cancer Institute, new diagnoses for all types of cancer fell about 1 percent per year between 1999 and 2006, while cancer deaths fell by a 1.6 percent margin between 2001 and 2006.

The report noted that in men, the most common types of cancer - prostate, lung and colorectal - had decreased, while in women, two of the three most common types - breast and colorectal - had also fallen. Men were still said to have generally higher cancer rates than women, but they also saw the strongest declines in both mortality and in new cases over the past decade.

"The continued decline in overall cancer rates documents the success we have had with our aggressive efforts to reduce risk in large populations, to provide for early detection, and to develop new therapies that have been successfully applied in this past decade," said Dr. John E. Niederhuber, director of the National Cancer Institute.

One warning sign was that for Americans aged 50 and over, cancer rates have continued to increase somewhat, illustrating the importance of regular screenings and leading a healthy lifestyle. For some people, a cancer diagnosis can also result in significantly higher health insurance premiums because it is typically seen as a pre-existing condition.

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