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WASHINGTON, Sept 2 (AFP) - US death rates from the four most common forms of cancer fell in the late 1990s after having risen a decade earlier, according to a report released Tuesday by US health authorities.
The death rate from lung, breast, prostate and colorectal cancer had already begun to stabilize in the mid-1990s, according to new data from a report analyzing cancer cases between 1975 and 2000.
Overall death rates from cancer increased between 1970 and 1990, then declined between 1994-98 and stabilized through 2000, according to the report from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
"This report shows that we have made some progress in reducing the burden of cancer in the United States, but much still needs to be done," said Centers for Disease Control Director Julie Gerberding.
Gerberding recommended a "wider application of what science has shown to be effective in preventing, screening, and treating cancer."
The report also showed that in the last five years of the study, instances of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men increased, but male lung cancer cases fell.
The higher levels of breast cancer were partially attributable to improved screening practices, translated into a dip in the mortality rate from breast cancer.
In 2003, more than 1.3 million new cancers will be diagnosed in the US population and the illness is expected to cause more than 550,000 deaths, according to statistics from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
The ASCO estimates there will be nine million cancer survivors in the United States this year.
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