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Cancer deaths decline in U.S.

The overall death rate for cancer in the United States has dropped by at least one-fifth over the past two decades, according to new statistics from the American Cancer Society.

This steady decline translates to 1.2 million lives spared between 1991 and 2009.

"In 2009, Americans had a 20 percent lower risk of death from cancer than they did in 1991, a milestone that shows we truly are creating more birthdays," John Seffrin of the American Cancer Society, said.

Death rates continue to fall for colon, breast and prostate cancers thanks to improvements in early detection and treatment, the new report revealed. Lung cancer, still the leading killer, is also on the decline, with the number of smokers dropping.

The cancer society noted that more progress could be made if the latest advancements in prevention and treatment were extended to underserved populations. -- HealthDay