Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The rate of new cancer cases finally may be inching down – cautiously optimistic news but a gain that specialists worry could be derailed by economic turmoil.

Death rates from cancer have been dropping slowly for years, thanks to earlier detection and better treatments. But preventing cancer is the ultimate goal, and Tuesday’s annual “Report to the Nation” on cancer also shows a small but encouraging change: The rate of new diagnoses among men dropped 1.8 percent a year between 2001 and 2005.

For women, the dip was just over half a percent a year.

Also, the cancer death rate among men and women continued to drop, by an average of 1.8 percent a year through 2005, said the report published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The improvements are due to gains against some leading cancers – prostate, colorectal, breast and, for men, lung cancer. But numerous other types still are on the rise, including melanoma and kidney cancer.

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