In a press release issued on December 31, 2014, the American Cancer Society announced that its annual cancer statistics report finds that there has been a 22% drop in cancer mortality in the United States over two decades, leading to the avoidance of more than 1.5 million cancer deaths that would have occurred if peak rates had persisted. And while cancer death rates have declined in every state, the report finds substantial variation in the magnitude of these declines, generally with the states in the South showing the smallest decline and in the Northeast the largest decline. Each year, the American Cancer Society compiles the most recent data on cancer incidence, mortality, and survival based on incidence data from the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics. The data are disseminated in two reports: Cancer Statistics 2015, that will be published online in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians on January 5, 2015, and also in its companion, consumer-friendly publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2015 on January 5, 2015. The reports also estimate the number of new cancer cases and deaths expected in the United States in the current year. Largely driven by rapid increases in lung cancer deaths among men as a consequence of the tobacco epidemic, the overall cancer death rate rose during most of the 20th century, peaking in 1991. The subsequent steady decline in the cancer death rate is the result of fewer Americans smoking, as well as advances in cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment. During the most recent five years for which data are available (2007-2011), the average annual decline in cancer death rates was slightly larger among men (1.8%) than women (1.4%).
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