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American Cancer Society says cancer death rates are down

Pennsylvania residents may be less likely to die from cancer than they used to be, according to the American Cancer Society. The health organization released a report on Jan. 5 showing evidence that cancer death rates have gone down by 25 percent since 1991. The declining rate has resulted in over 2.1 million fewer cancer deaths.

There are several different factors that may be contributing to the declining rates of cancer deaths. The ACS says that two of the major contributing influences are improved cancer screenings and declines in smoking. Declining prostate cancer deaths were attributed to the fact that doctors are no longer recommending PSA blood tests while declining colorectal cancer cases were linked to the increased use of colonoscopies.

While the ACS was optimistic about the overall declining cancer death rate, the organization pointed out that certain demographic groups have higher rates of cancer than others. For example, African Americans have a higher cancer death rate than any other racial group -- around 15 percent higher than whites. Cancer death rates in children are also worrisome as the disease is now the second most common cause of death in children between the ages of 1 and 14.

A cancer patient who receives an early and correct diagnosis may have a better chance of survival. If a doctor's failure to diagnose a patient's cancer correctly caused a worsened condition, the patient could sue the doctor for medical malpractice. An attorney may be able to represent a cancer patient in a medical malpractice claim against a negligent doctor or hospital.

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