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Lung Cancer in Women Falls for First Time as U.S. Rates Drop

Lung cancer in women fell for the first time as the rate of all cancers in the U.S. declined from 2003 to 2007, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The drop in women’s lung cancer occurred more than 10 years after a similar decline in men. Overall, new cancer diagnoses decreased by about 1 percent a year in the period, according to the report published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. New childhood cases rose while death rates fell.

The death rate from the disease began falling in the early 1990s because of improvements in early detection, prevention and treatment, the study authors said. The Atlanta-based CDC said on March 11 that the number of people living with cancer increased to 11.7 million in 2007, the highest number ever.

“It is gratifying to see the continued steady decline in overall cancer incidence and death rates in the United States,” said Harold Varmus, the director of the National Cancer Institute, in a statement accompanying the data.

In men, the rates declined for lung, colon, mouth, stomach, and malignant brain cancers while they rose for kidney, pancreas, and liver tumors, and skin melanoma. In women, cancer of the breast, lung, colon, uterus, cervix, bladder and mouth all dropped, while kidney, pancreas and thyroid cancers all rose, as did leukemia and melanoma.

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