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U.S. cancers rates have dropped 25 percent since 1991

Cancer death rates in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. have declined steadily over the last few decades, according to a new report by the American Cancer Society. The organization credits improved cancer screening guidelines, falling smoking rates, colonoscopies and other factors for the drop.

The report states that cancer fatalities have fallen by 25 percent since 1991, which translates into more than 2.1 million lives saved. Over the last 10 years, new cancer diagnoses fell by 2 percent annually in men and remained steady in women. The overall cancer rate in men and women fell approximately 1.5 percent each year.

The report found that new cancer diagnoses are still varied by racial and ethnic groups, with African Americans experiencing the most new cases. The cancer rate among African Americans was around 15 percent higher than that of the white population in 2014. Cancer is also the second most common killer of U.S. children ages 1 to 14 years. In 2017, the ACS predicts there will be around 1.7 million new cancer cases and over 600,000 cancer deaths in the U.S. The organization expects more than 200,000 new cases of rare cancer to be reported. This year, the top cancers among men will likely be prostate, lung and colorectal cancers. Among women, the top cancers are predicted to be breast, lung and colorectal cancers.

Time is critical when diagnosing cancer. Patients who experience misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis while seeking treatment can suffer a worsened condition and a diminished prognosis. In cases where a doctor's failure to diagnose has caused harm, it may be advisable to file a medical malpractice lawsuit seeking damages, including medical expenses and pain and suffering.

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