Progress On Lung Cancer Drives Historic Drop In U.S. Cancer Death Rate

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    Cancer death rates in the United States took their sharpest drop on record between 2016 and 2017, according to an analysis by the American Cancer Society. Cancer death rates in the U.S. have been falling gradually for about three decades, typically about 1.5% a year. But during the latest study period, the cancer mortality rate dropped 2.2%, “the biggest single-year drop ever,” says Rebecca Siegel , scientific director for surveillance research at the cancer society. “It seems to be driven by accelerating declines in lung cancer mortality,” Siegel says. That’s “very encouraging, because lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., causing more deaths than breast, colorectal and prostate cancers combined.” What’s behind the decline? In part, smoking rates have fallen steadily, which means the biggest risk factor for lung cancer has fallen appreciably. New cancer treatments are also playing a role, Siegel says. Advanced lung cancer, however, remains deadly. People

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