WASHINGTON (AP)-- Researchers say death rates from cancer are continuing to inch down.
Cancer deaths began slowly dropping during the 1990s, and today's report shows the trend holding. Among men, cancer death rates dropped by 1.8 percent a year between 2000 and 2009. The rate declined by 1.4 percent a year among women.
The drops are due mostly to gains against some of the leading types of cancer -- long, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers -- amid advances in treatment and better screening.
But deaths are still rising for certain cancer types, including liver and pancreatic cancer -- and, among men, melanoma. That's the most serious kind of skin cancer.
An official with the American Cancer Society, which compiled the annual report with government and cancer advocacy groups, says there are strong forces working against the decline in mortality -- factors such as bad diets, a lack of physical activity and obesity. Dr. Otis Brawley is warning that over the next decade, those problems could surpass tobacco as the leading causes of cancer in the United States.