CDC report: Cancer mortality rates steadily declining

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting a consistent decrease in combined cancer death rates as part of its annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer.

The report showed that overall cancer death rates fell by an average of 1.5 percent per year from 2003 to 2012, while incidence rates decreased among men and remained stable for women during the same time period.

The CDC says the steady decline can be attributed to improvements in prevention and early detection as well as specific efforts like tobacco control, which is believed to have contributed to lower rates of lung cancer—the number-one cause of cancer deaths in the country.

The news wasn’t all rosy, however—liver cancer saw sharp increases in mortality (2.8 percent) and incidence rates (2.3 percent) from 2008-2012, according to the report.

“The latest data show many cancer prevention programs are working and saving lives,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, in a press release. “But the growing burden of liver cancer is troublesome. We need to do more work promoting hepatitis testing, treatment, and vaccination.”

The annual report is a collaborative effort by the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Cancer Institute, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.

Read the full report here.