When it comes to beating cancer, trends are both positive and puzzling.
On the positive side, U.S. death rates continue to decline for all cancers combined and for the four most common cancers, including prostate, breast, lung, and colorectal. The rate of new cancer cases also continues to decrease, a trend begun in the early 1990s.
But while more common cancers are declining, less common ones are increasing. Through 2005, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports an increase in new cases of cancer of the thyroid, kidney, and liver, as well as melanoma of the skin, in both men and women. It also reports more testicular cancer in men and more childhood cancers. Cancer-related health disparities continue, with African-Americans and low-income people experiencing the highest rates of new cancers and cancer deaths, according to the NCI.