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National Cancer Death Rates Dropping

October 15, 2007

More people are surviving cancer. That's the word in a new report out
Monday and doctors say many of those survivors are colon cancer patients.

"We're not there yet. But if we can increase screening with the newer chemo-therapeutic agents, people will live a lot longer" said Dr. Lester Gottesman, a colon cancer specialist.

And while deaths from colon cancer are dropping almost 5% a year, the numbers are encouraging for all cancer patients.

Between the years 2002 and 2004, cancer deaths dropped an average of more than 2% a year. That's about double the average rate from the years 1993-2001.

There are many reasons for the drop in death, but the biggest reason; doctors are able to spot cancer early and treat it with more powerful drugs.

"The better treatments are less toxic. They're more easily administered and the quality of life of all of those patients is getting better as well" said Dr. Harmon Eyre of the American Cancer Society.

Regular screenings including colonoscopies and mammographies are saving lives by allowing the cancer to be caught and treated in the earliest stages. The government study also found breast cancer diagnoses are dropping about 3.5% per year.

"We think we can lick this problem in this century" said Eyre.

Despite the encouraging report, Doctors caution there's still plenty of room for improvement and they are still urging people to be vigilant with
screenings and early detection.

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