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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Cancer deaths in U.S. declining, report finds

Liver cancer seems to be on the rise, a blip of bad news in the nation’s otherwise optimistic annual report on cancer that shows survival continuing to improve.

Overall, Americans’ death rates from cancer have dropped 1.1 percent a year since 1993, a trend that continued in 2002 — the most recent figures available — researchers reported Tuesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Rates of new cases are holding steady for men. But a small but stubborn increase in female diagnoses continues — 0.3 percent a year since 1987 — fueled mostly by steadily rising rates of breast and thyroid cancer, melanoma and lymphoma.

Surprisingly, another fairly rare malignancy is becoming more common: liver cancer. The report found annual increases of 3 percent among white men, 4.5 percent among black men, 3.7 percent among white women and 5 percent among Hispanic women.

It’s not clear what’s spurring the rise; one factor may be hepatitis infections.

Read more: Cancer deaths in U.S. declining, report finds


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