Cancer deaths are down overall, new report says

PHOTO: A patient undergoes chemotherapy in an undated stock photo. PlaySTOCK/Getty Images
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Good news -- cancer deaths are down overall.

Cancer deaths dipped almost 2 percent a year between 1999 and 2015 among men, about 1.5 percent a year for women, according to a new report. Although cancer rates actually increased slightly between 2010 and 2014 for children -- 1 percent a year -- their death rate also dropped 1.5 percent between 2011 and 2015.

This joint report of the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Cancer Institute and the North American Associate of Central Cancer Registries measured how well the medical "war on cancer" progresses.

ABC News
PHOTO: Cancer Info Graphic

These are significant declines, reflecting more accurate and successful cancer treatments, and better detection as well. Cancer detected at earlier stages has more treatment options and a better five-year survival rate.

Unfortunately, the statistics show that this progress in reducing cancer deaths hasn't occurred for each type of cancer. Death rates are down for lung and colorectal cancers in both men and women, for instance, but up for pancreatic and liver cancers for both genders. Death rates are down for breast and prostate cancer as well. Rates and trends by race and ethnic groups still differ.

As to how many cancers occur (rather than how well we survive them), the rate of cancer came down 2.2 percent a year for men between 2008 and 2014; it was stable for women.

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