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Cancer

November 18, 2009

Doctors tend to shy away from using the word "cure" and cancer in the same sentence, but a wealth of promising research and medical developments in recent years has been extending lives and reducing the incidence of some cancers.

Science has produced the HPV vaccine to prevent a virus linked to cervical cancer as well as breakthrough drugs like Herceptin and Tamoxifen to keep breast cancer from recurring.

The overall cancer death rate fell 16 percent from its peak in 1991 to 2006, the latest year for which the American Cancer Society has information.

Still, cancer caused nearly one-fourth of all U.S. deaths in 2006, second only to heart disease.

Men are most likely to be diagnosed with cancers of the prostate, lung, colon and rectum; women are most commonly diagnosed with breast, lung and colorectal cancers.

An area ripe for exploration by journalists is the higher rate of certain cancers in different ethnic groups because of both cultural practices, diet, and, in some cases, a genetic predisposition. Updated March 2010

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