ROCKVILLE, MD (CBS Local) – There’s a bright spot in a new medical report out this week: the country’s overall cancer death rate has fallen.

The Details:

  • A study says the cancer death rate in the U.S. continues to drop
  • The death rate among both men and women decreased each year from 1999 to 2014
  • Late stage prostate cancer cases stopped declining among men

In a report from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the American Cancer Society and the CDC, researchers say the rate of new cancers being detected and overall number of deaths dropped over a 15-year period.

“This year’s report is an encouraging indicator of progress we’re making in cancer research. As overall death rates continue to decline for all major racial and ethnic groups in the United States, it’s clear that interventions are having an impact,” NCI Director Ned Sharpless said in a May 22 release.

The study, which looked at cancer cases in the U.S. from 1999 to 2014, found that the cancer death rate has decreased by 1.8 percent each year among men and by 1.4 percent each year among women.

However, the news for men isn’t all positive. A more detailed look at prostate cancer suggests that the disease is being discovered too late and is killing more men than in previous years. “We are definitely losing ground,” NCI’s Dr. Serban Negoita said, via WebMD. “We don’t want to have more people diagnosed at a distant stage, and we don’t want to have more people dying from prostate cancer.”

Physicians added that the generally positive trend can be credited to fewer Americans smoking in recent years. “I think it really reflects a decrease in smoking over the past five decades,” NCI lead author Kathleen Cronin said. “Smoking still accounts for probably half of cancer deaths.”

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