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Cancer Death Rates Declining

morality chartOverall cancer death rates in the United States are continuing to drop, a trend that started in the early 1990s, according to the latest annual report on the status of cancer published this month in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975–2009” shows that from 2000 through 2009, cancer death rates decreased by 1.8 percent per year among men, decreasing for 10 of the 17 most common cancers among men. During that same decade among women, death rates decreased 1.4 percent per year, lowering for 15 of the 18 most common cancers. Among both men and women there was an increased death rate for cancers of the pancreas and liver. Factors that contribute to the decline in death rates for many of the common cancers include improved early detection and treatment, the report notes.

Cancers with increasing incidence trends include thyroid and kidney cancers. An increase in kidney cancer incidence rates is thought to reflect, in part, increased diagnosis as well as the obesity epidemic.

This year’s report focuses on the trends in human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancers, finding that incidence rates are increasing for some HPV-associated cancers and  that US vaccination coverage during 2008 and 2010 remained low among adolescent girls.

Source: Jemal A et al. Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975–2009, Jemal A et al. Featuring the Burden and Trends in HPV-Associated Cancers and HPV Vaccination Coverage Levels. Journal of the National Cancer Institute; Published online Jan. 7, 2013; In print Vol. 105, Issue 3, Feb. 2013.

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