Fewer people are dying of cancer according to the American Cancer Society. A new study shows cancer-related deaths are down 20 percent since 1991. And as our Elyse Mickalonis found out, experts say there are a few reasons why.
UNITED STATES -- Finding out you have cancer can be frightening, but experts say there are more reasons to be hopeful now than ever before.
"There was a time that breast cancer or any kind of cancer was a death sentence, we have come such a long way in that front,” Ann Campbell, Susan G. Komen Twin Tiers Board of Directors President.
A new report released by the American Cancer Society shows that cancer deaths are down twenty percent since 1991.
"People are aware and they get their screenings which is a really good thing, because they have a better diagnosis and treatment,” said Susan Moranda, American Cancer Society Community Mission Manager.
The study shows a decline in all four major cancer sites, those being lung, breast, prostate and colorectal. Health experts say this is due to advances in early detection and treatment, but also due to reductions in unhealthy habits.
"People pretty much know that smoking use is related to cancer, they know not to start and if they do, if they can, they should quit. As far as getting mammograms and breast exams, your pap smears, those are all clinical and important to the advances we’re seeing in the decline of mortality,” said Moranda.
Campbell added, "With breast cancer early detection makes an enormous difference, those people diagnosed early have a 99 percent survival rate, five-year survival rate, we are head and shoulders above where we were 10 to 15 years ago."
Despite the study offering good news, officials at the American Cancer Society say there’s still more work to be done.
"Right now we know the prostate cancer screenings aren't what we'd like them be, so we need to do that, we need to find better screenings for lung cancer, which we're making progress on that, and we need to make sure people get to their screenings, so all of those things are really important,” said Moranda.
By constantly moving forward with funding, research and treatments, scientists hope to find a cure.
Despite numbers being down, the American Cancer Society predicts that more than 580,000 people will die of cancer in 2013.
For an in depth look at the study, head to: http://pressroom.cancer.org/FactsFigs2013.