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Good News! Fewer Americans are Dying from Cancer

June 5, 2009

Sioux Falls, SD – Fewer Americans are dying from cancer, according to new information from the American Cancer Society, which released its annual Cancer Facts and Figures report for 2009. The death rate from cancer in the United States is lower than at any other time in the past 15 years, according to the report.

The Society's Denise Kolba in South Dakota says cancer death rates have been decreasing since the early 1990s, and most-significant is that cancer death rates for men have fallen more than 19 percent.

"We know that’s due mainly to decreases in lung, prostate and colon cancer deaths. Among women, the death rates dropped by about 11.4 percent, and that’s largely due to a decline in breast and colorectal cancer fatalities. We do know that lung, prostate, breast and colon cancers continue to be the most-common fatal cancers, and these four cancers together account for about half of the total cancer deaths among men and women."

Sunday is National Cancer Survivors Day, says Kolba, and this reported decrease in cancer deaths is reason to celebrate.

"There are 11 million cancer survivors living in the United States today - three times more than we had in the 1970s because, in the 1970s, the survival rate was about 50 percent for all of combined cancer. Now, that’s up to about 66 percent."

The American Cancer Society is projecting nearly 4,120 new cancer cases in South Dakota this year with 1,640 cancer deaths. Its research shows that weight control, physical activity and nutrition, combined with cancer screenings and tobacco control, play a major role in preventing cancer deaths.

More information is available at

David Law, Public News Service - SD