The number of cancer deaths continues to decline in the United States, and calculations are that between 1991 and 2008 more than 1 million deaths from the multi-faceted disease were avoided, the American Cancer Society announced.

According to the new report entitled "Cancer Statistics, 2012," the decline in the number of cancer deaths among men was 23 percent while among women it was 15 percent.

Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, co-author of the study, said that the reduction in deaths is due "to improvements in cancer prevention, early detection and treatment."

Between 2004 and 2008, cancer deaths fell by 1.8 percent for men and 1.6 percent for women, a trend that experts hope will be maintained in the future.

By types, cancer of the lung, colon, breast and prostate, which are responsible for the majority of deaths, all continued to decline.

However, the study emphasized that the less common cancers - such as cancer of the pancreas, liver, thyroid and kidney - increased over the past decade.

Causes of the disease include tobacco use, a practice that is responsible for a third of the deaths; while another third are linked, experts say, to being overweight, physical inactivity and poor nutrition.

The decline in the number of deaths occurred among all groups, but the statistics reveal that African-Americans still show higher rates of cancer than whites: by 33 percent in the case of men and by 16 in the case of women.

Projections made by the study show that during 2012 some 1.6 million new cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the United States, and there are expected to be 580,000 deaths from the disease over the course of the year.

"Although we're making progress, the number of people who are dying from cancer continues to increase because of the aging and growth of the population," Jemal said. EFE

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