March 31, 2011 -- Lung cancer death rates among women in the U.S. are declining for the first time in 40 years, a study shows.
The study also shows the overall cancer death rate continues a decline that began in the early 1990s.
The cancer death rate is the best indicator of progress against the disease. It fell by about 1.6% a year between 2001 and 2007. The rate fell by about 1% annually between 1993 and 2001.
For all types of cancer, cancer incidence declined by about 1% a year between 1999 and 2007. That?s the last year for which figures are available.
The annual report examining cancer incidence and death trends in the U.S. is a joint effort by the CDC, the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.
The overall cancer death rate fell for all four of the most common cancers: breast, colorectal, lung and prostate, American Cancer Society vice president for surveillance research Ahmedin Jemal, PhD, tells WebMD.
?We are definitely making progress due to a combination of better prevention, early detection, and treatment,? Jemal says. ?But there is still much that we can do to improve this picture. We know that tobacco-control programs, including excise taxes, public smoking bans, and anti-tobacco campaigns, save lives.?
Even though smoking-related cancers are falling, 45 million Americans still smoke. It?s estimated that about a third of cancers are tobacco related.