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Published January 07, 2013, 08:52 PM

Report finds US death rates from cancer still inching down, but some tumors defying the trend

WASHINGTON — Death rates from cancer are continuing to inch down, researchers reported Monday.

WASHINGTON — Death rates from cancer are continuing to inch down, researchers reported Monday.

Now the question is how to hold onto those gains, and do even better, even as the population gets older and fatter, both risks for developing cancer.

“There has been clear progress,” said Dr. Otis Brawley of the American Cancer Society, which compiled the annual cancer report with government and cancer advocacy groups.

But bad diets, lack of physical activity and obesity together wield “incredible forces against this decline in mortality,” Brawley said. He warned that over the next decade, that trio could surpass tobacco as the leading cause of cancer in the U.S.

Overall, deaths from cancer began slowly dropping in the 1990s, and Monday's report shows the trend holding. Among men, cancer death rates dropped by 1.8 percent a year between 2000 and 2009, and by 1.4 percent a year among women. The drops are thanks mostly to gains against some of the leading types — lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers — because of treatment advances and better screening.

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