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    Thursday, February 09, 2006

    Fighting Cancer: The death rate from cancer ever so slightly declined three years ago:

    The decline occurred in 2003, the latest year for which figures are available. There were 556,902 cancer deaths, 369 fewer than in 2002. Deaths fell in men by 778, but rose by 409 in women.

    'Even though it's a small number, it's a notable milestone,' said Dr. Michael Thun, head of epidemiological research for the society.

    Dr. Thun (pronounced tune) said the death rate from cancer had been falling by slightly less than 1 percent a year since 1991, but even so, the actual number of deaths kept rising because the population was growing and aging.

    'The decrease from 2002 to 2003 means that the decline in death rates had become sufficiently large that it was bigger than the aging and growth of the population,' Dr. Thun said.

    It will be interesting to see if the decline continues or at least holds steady, or if it just goes up again in the coming years as the baby boomers pass into old age. Three years ago they were only 57. Although the number of cancer deaths has dropped, it doesn't necessarily mean that all of our early screening programs are making a difference. It could just mean that people are living longer with a diagnosis of cancer. If that's the case, the cancer death rate may go up again. It's too early to celebrate. We haven't conquered it yet.

    posted by Sydney on 2/09/2006 09:20:00 AM 1 comments


    The New York Times has a better science writer than CNN. At least Dr. Thun said the cancer death rate was going down- I left a comment under the preemie post about bad statistics & CNN.

    Considering that the lifespan has doubled in the last 100 years because of the success of public health and medical care, it's amazing that the cancer death rate has fallen at all. There are so many fewer other things to afflict us. In fact, I remember reading about a group of senior physicians who went to an oncology and aging lecture. After that, they decided, to hell with clean living and all went out and had a nice steak!

    By Anonymous dani, at 4:21 PM  

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