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Report: Cancer Rates Declining in the US

Duncan Smith/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new report out Thursday called the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer says overall cancer death rates have dropped by an average of 1.6 percent per year from 2003 to 2007.  The report added that the rate of new cancers in the U.S. has dropped by nearly one percent per year.

Researchers say the declines are part of a trend that began in the 1990s.  While lung cancer death rates in men started to decline over a decade ago, the researchers noted this is the first time a drop has been observed for lung cancer death rates in women.

Lynn Ries, a health statistician at the U.S. National Cancer Institute and a co-author of the report, attributes the drop of death rates for women with lung cancer to women quitting smoking.

"Women started smoking a lot later than men, so the peak in the mortality rate occurred a lot later," she said.

A combined effort of the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, the U.S. National Cancer Institute, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Cancer Society, the report is published in the online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

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