Cancer deaths drop

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 5, 2007

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Cancer deaths have dropped for the second consecutive year, and this time much more steeply, showing that last year's historic drop was no fluke, said John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society.

"Everyone involved in the fight against cancer should be proud of this remarkable achievement," Dr. Seffrin said. "The hard work towards preventing cancer, catching it early and making treatment more effective is paying dramatic, lifesaving dividends."

In 2004, there were 553,888 deaths from cancer, compared with 556,902 in 2003. Decreases were seen in breast, prostate and colorectal cancer as well as lung cancer in men. Colorectal cancer showed the largest decrease in the number of deaths.

While the death rate for all cancers combined has decreased in the United States since 1991, it wasn't until 2003 that the decrease was large enough to outpace the aging and growth of the U.S. population, producing two consecutive years of fewer cancer deaths.

Researchers caution that although the news is good, cancer remains the leading cause of death in Americans older than age 85.

Also, based on these trends, the society estimates that 1.44 million will be diagnosed with cancer in 2007. Approximately 560,000 will die.

The figures come from "Statistics 2007," published in the January/February CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, as well as the 56th edition of its companion publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2007.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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