Cancer Progress Could Stall, Society's Report Warns

The American Cancer Society expressed concern April 10 that despite recent declines in cancer death rates, progress could stall. Declines in adult and youth tobacco use have leveled off and mammography is still not reaching a substantial part of the population, according to a report the society released, "Cancer Prevention & Early Detection Facts and Figures 2007."

"The historic second consecutive drop in U.S. total cancer deaths reported this year is a remarkable sign that we have the potential to turn back deaths from cancer," said John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., national chief executive officer of the society. "Much of the suffering and death from cancer could be prevented by more systematic efforts to reduce tobacco use, improve diet, increase activity levels, and expand the use of established screening tests. But this report shows we may be losing momentum in some key areas that have been critical to our success."

The death rate from all cancers combined has fallen in each of the last 12 years for which data is available; ACS also applauds grassroots efforts that passed smoke-free laws in Ohio, Arizona, and Nevada last year. The report estimates that in 2007, approximately 168,000 cancer deaths will be caused by tobacco and also says 186,550 of the year's expected 559,650 cancer deaths are attributable to poor nutrition, overweight and obesity, and physical inactivity. The report is available at www.cancer.org/statistics.

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