World News and Trends: Turning the corner on cancer?

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Turning the corner on cancer?

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The decline in new cases is largely attributable to behavioral changes, particularly reductions in cigarette smoking. Authorities attribute the drop in deaths to more-effective therapies and better screening, which enable physicians to detect the disease earlier.

The incidence of cancer had risen steadily since the 1930s and climbed an average of 1.2 percent annually from 1973 to 1990. From 1990 to 1995, the latest year for which complete statistics are available, the rate of new cancers averaged a 0.7 percent decrease each year. New cases of cancer appear to have peaked in 1992, when 426 of every 100,000 Americans were diagnosed with cancer. By 1995 the number had decreased to 392.

The various types of cancer continue to be a major health threat, taking the lives of 1,500 Americans every day. But, says CDC official Dr. James Marks, "cancer is conquerable, and progress is being made." (Source: The New York Times.)