Cancer death rates have fallen by 20% from their peak about 20 years ago, according to the American Cancer Society.
This means that from 1991 to 2009, 1.2 million lives were spared, including 152,900 lives in 2009 alone.
“The big picture is that progress is steady, and for the four major cancer sites, progress is even more rapid,” says researcher Rebecca Siegel, MPH. She is the director of surveillance information at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta. The four major cancer sites are breast, prostate, colorectum, and lung.
Death rates have dropped by more than 30% for colorectal cancer, breast cancer in women, and lung cancer in men, and by more than 40% for prostate cancer. Why? Less smoking for lung cancer, and earlier detection and better treatments for colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers.
Still, not all the news is good. One in four deaths in the U.S. is from cancer, and rates of certain cancers, including liver, thyroid, and pancreatic cancers, are on the rise.
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