U.S. Cancer Death Rates Continue to Fall

National Cancer Institute's annual report suggests that incidence rates remain stable

THURSDAY, Sept. 7 (HealthDay News) -- The rate of deaths in the United States due to cancer continues to fall, although incidence remains stable, according to the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer 1975-2003 by the National Cancer Institute, which was published online Sept. 6 in Cancer.

Deaths due to cancer have dropped 1.6 percent among men from 1993 through 2003 and 0.8 percent among women from 1992 through 2003. The steeper decline in men is attributed largely to their sharp reduction in tobacco use over the decade. "We need to enhance efforts to reduce tobacco use in women so that the rate of decline in cancer death rates becomes comparable to that of men," said Betsy A. Kohler, M.P.H., president of the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, Inc., in a statement.

There were declines in death rates for 11 out of 15 most common cancers in men, and 10 of the 15 most common cancers in women. However, overall incidence rates have remained stable for both sexes from 1992 through 2003. For example, breast cancer incidence stabilized at the 2001 rate, after increasing from the 1980s onwards.

The report also has a special section on cancer rates for U.S. Latino/Hispanic populations, which suggests that Hispanic populations have a lower incidence of many cancers compared with non-Hispanic whites, but that Hispanic children have higher incidences of leukemia, retinoblastoma, osteosarcoma and germ cell tumors than non-Hispanic whites.

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