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Cancer Death Rates Drop 20% Over 2 Decades

Breast and Pancreatic Cancers

Stephanie Bernik, MD, says that early detection and better treatments are largely responsible for the drop in breast cancer deaths. She is the chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

“We had good cure rates, and now they are excellent,” she says. But If we cut back on screening, it could negatively impact these numbers. According to the new report, there will be an estimated 232,340 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed among women, and 39,620 women are projected to die from breast cancer in 2013.

While other cancer rates are falling, the report shows that more people are being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer than ever before.

In 2013, there will be an estimated 45,220 new cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed in the U.S., and about 38,460 people are projected to die from this cancer.

And we really don’t know why, says Gagandeep Singh, MD. He is professor at City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif. “The key thing is try to make the diagnosis a little bit earlier.”

Yes, the statistics are grim, but pancreatic cancer is not necessarily a death sentence, Singh says.  “We all have patients that are alive 10 to 12 years out and doing well. There is a lot in the pipeline, and the next five to 10 years hold great promise for the detection and treatment of pancreatic cancer.”

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