Cancer rates drop for first time

There's good news on the cancer front: For the first time since the government started keeping track, the rate of cancer in the U.S. has decreased. Researchers already knew that the number of cancer deaths was decreasing due to early detection and better treatment, but the new numbers show that improvement is being made in preventing the causes of cancer.

Some researchers are warning that the gains may only be temporary, as the stress from the bad economic situation drives people to start smoking again. They also note that baby boomers are reaching the age when they are likely to start developing cancer, which could inflate the numbers again.

Incidence rates dropped nearly a percent per year between 1999 and 2005 across all cancers, with men's incidences of cancer dropping at nearly three times the rate of women's. Meanwhile, the death rate dropped by nearly 2 percent per year over the same time period.

To learn more about the drop:
- read this LA Times piece