According to a new American Cancer Society report, death rates from cancer fell an average 1.8 percent per year in men and 1.6 percent per year in women from 2004 to 2008, says ABC News' Katie Moisse. The report's author tells Moisse that improvements in cancer treatments, early detection, and prevention can be credited with the steady decline, which has saved a million lives during the past 18 years.
But all is not rosy. Although death rates are indeed down for lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer, incidence of cancers in areas like the pancreas, liver, thyroid, and kidney are rising. In addition, although the death rates dropped in men and women from across the racial spectrum, the cancer death rate was still 33 percent higher in African-American men and 16 percent higher in African-American women than in white men and women, Moisse says. The American Cancer Society says that because the report paints a clear picture of the state of cancer care in the US, disparities based on race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status can begin to be addressed.
Recently, a report in The Journal of Clinical Oncology further highlighted the discrepancy in cancer survival rates between white and African-American patients.