US cancer death rates continue to decline

Washington: Cancer death rates continued to decline in the US between 2004 and 2008, government report said.

The overall rate of new cancer diagnoses for men and women combined decreased an average of less than one percent per year from 1998 through 2006, with rates levelling off from 2006 through 2008, the annual report to the nation on the status of cancer said.

"The rate of cancer diagnoses and deaths across all racial and minority groups are slowly decreasing," said Benz. "But there are still gaps that must be addressed," said Edward Benz, president of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

The report is co-authored by researchers from Dana-Farber, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, the National Cancer Institute, and the American Cancer Society.

Among children ages 19 years or younger, cancer incidence rates increased 0.6 percent per year from 2004 through 2008, while death rates decreased 1.3 percent per year during the same period, the report posted online Wednesday in the journal Cancer said.

The authors also highlighted cancers associated with excess weight and lack of sufficient physical activity.

"This report emphasizes that the growing obesity problem and decreased overall physical activity in our society compared to decades ago have a real impact on multiple diseases, including cancer," said Jeffrey Meyerhardt, a colorectal cancer expert at Dana-Farber.

"While we currently see declines in incidence of many cancers, if obesity continues at the current rates, I believe these improvements in incidences will reverse and increase over time."


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