Fewer people are getting cancer and death rates continue to fall, according to the latest report on cancer in the United States, released on Monday.
New diagnoses for all types of cancer fell by almost 1 percent per year on average from 1999 to 2006 and deaths fell 1.6 percent per year from 2001 to 2006, the National Cancer Institute, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Cancer Society and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries reported.
Declines in rates of new cases and rates of death for the most common types of cancer -- lung, breast, prostate and colorectal cancers -- are mostly responsible, they reported in the journal Cancer.
The continued decline in overall cancer rates documents the success we have had with our aggressive efforts to reduce risk in large populations, to provide for early detection, and to develop new therapies that have been successfully applied in this past decade, NCI Director Dr John Niederhuber said in a statement.
Men still were more likely to get cancer than women, but men experienced the greatest declines in rates of new cases and death rates, the study found.
For colorectal cancer, the third most frequently diagnosed cancer in both men and women, and the second-leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths, overall rates are declining, but more and more people under 50 years are getting it, the report said.
Screening has helped, as have better drugs, the report finds.
For instance, from 1975 to 2000, colorectal cancer incidence fell 22 percent, half due to changes in risk factors such as smoking, and half due to screening, the researchers said.
Colorectal cancer deaths fell by 26 percent during that time.
This report shows that we have begun to make progress reducing colorectal cancer. Yet, colorectal cancer still kills more people than any other cancer except lung cancer, said CDC Director Dr Thomas Frieden.
Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease. Cancer is diagnosed in about 1.3 million Americans a year and about 562,000 people will die in 2009, according to the American Cancer Society.
Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer by far, with 219,440 diagnoses and 159,390 deaths projected for 2009 in the United States alone.
Colon cancer is the second-biggest cancer killer in the United States -- with 49,920 deaths projected and more than 106,000 cases.
Breast cancer will be diagnosed in 194,280 women and men and will kill 40,610 -- including 44 men, the group projects. Prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 192,280 men and will kill 27,360.