US seeing continued progress on cancer

Almost 900,000 cancer deaths were avoided in the U.S. between 1990 and 2007 thanks to steady progress in fighting the disease, the American Cancer Society says in a new report released Friday.

Still, the report found that not all segments of the populations benefited equally — the least educated are more than twice as likely to die as Americans with the most education — while the death rate has remained flat for American Indian and native Alaskan women. And the disease is still expected to kill almost 572,000 people in the U.S. this year, with 1.6 million new cases projected to occur.

"The nearly 900,000 cancer deaths avoided over a 17-year period stand in stark contrast to the repeated claim that cancer death rates have not budged," American Cancer Society CEO John Seffrin said in a statement. "Nonetheless, we refuse to be satisfied, and are committed to doing whatever it takes, not only to ensure cancer death rates continue to drop, but to accelerate the decline."

Separately, the American Society of Clinical Oncology recently created a new site to mark 40 years of progress since President Nixon signed the National Cancer Act in 1971. The site’s main feature is a set of interactive timelines on the 14 major cancer types (broken down by type of advance – radiation, surgery, prevention, etc.)  that detail the research advances that made Friday's positive report possible.

This post was updated at 4 p.m.