Cancer remains a major public health problem in the United States – one in four deaths among Americans is due to cancer – but cancer death rates have been declining by up to 21 percent among men and 12 percent among women in recent years, according to the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics, 2010 report.

The decrease in deaths due to cancer translated to the avoidance of around 767,000 deaths over the 16-year period the report covered. Researchers credit the steady decline to reductions in smoking, early detection of cancer and improved cancer treatments.

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1. Jemal A, Siegel R, Xu J, Ward E. Cancer Statistics, 2010. CA Cancer J Clin 2010; 60: 277-300. (open access)