U.S. Cancer Deaths on the Decline
Number of Americans Being Diagnosed Remains the Same
WebMD News Archive
Sept. 6, 2006 -- Fewer Americans are dying of cancer, even though the number
of people being diagnosed with the disease remains the same, according to the
latest figures from the nation's top cancer groups.
An overall decline in cancer deaths that began in the early 1990s continues,
with death rates among men dropping at twice the rate as those among women -- a
1.6% annual decline for men from the early 1990s to 2003, compared with a 0.8%
fall for women.
A reduction in cigarette smoking among adults continues to be one of the
biggest driving forces in the drop in cancer deaths, along with earlier cancer
detection through screening, and treatment advances.
Smoking rates among American men have declined faster than among women. As a
result, lung cancer
incidence has been dropping among men and increasing among women from 1975 to
"Smoking is a big risk factor for many cancers, not just lung
cancer," says Holly Howe, PhD, executive director of the North American
Association of Central Cancer Registries, and one of the researchers. "That
is why it is so important that we continue smoking
cessation efforts aimed at women and teen girls."
Breast Cancers May Have Stabilized
The new cancer death and incidence report was a joint effort of the
registries association, the CDC, the American Cancer Society, and the National
Cancer Institute. The figures have been updated annually since 1998.
Among the major findings from 1995 to 2003:
Men's death rates for 11 of the 15 most common cancers -- including lung,
prostate, colon and rectum, pancreatic, and leukemia -- continue to decline. Deaths
from esophageal and
liver cancer increased, but seem to have stabilized for kidney
cancer and melanoma.
Among women, death rates dropped for 10 of the 15 most common cancers,
including cancers of the colon and rectum, kidney, cervix, and bladder. Deaths
from leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and myeloma
also declined. Death rates were stable for pancreatic, ovarian, and uterine
rates stabilized between 2001 and 2003, appearing to end a dramatic increase in
the number of women being diagnosed with the disease that began 2 decades