The cancer death rate continues to decline, according to the latest report, and at an even faster rate than previously. Cancer mortality decreased by 2.1% per year from 2002 to 2004, almost double the 1.1% decline seen each year from 1993 to 2002.
The Annual Report to the Nation, produced by NCI, CDC, the American Cancer Society, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, was published in Cancer (110:2119-2152, 2007), following advance online release.
The biggest contributor to the decline was the fall in colorectal cancer deaths in both men and women, the authors said. Such deaths dropped by 4.9% a year in men and 4.5% in women, due in part to advances in treatment, and new diagnoses of colorectal cancer were down 2.8% in men and 2.4% in women, probably due to colorectal screening.
ASCO president Nancy E. Davidson, MD, attributed the findings to the national investment in cancer research. "These exciting new data demonstrate what many of us in the cancer research and practice community have known for some time. The long-term federal investment in cancer research is paying off," she said, adding that "this impressive pace of progress will slow if we don't recommit to funding cancer research."