The annual report to the nation on the status of cancer, 1975–2009, shows that overall cancer death rates continued to decline in the United States among both men and women and among all major racial and ethnic groups.

Deputy Chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society Dr. Len Lichtenfeld said the reason is early detection and better treatments.

"The biggest good news is that since 1991, we have had a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates," he said. "In the United States today, there are 1.2 million deaths that have been averted because of our success in finding cancer early and treating cancer better. The reality is that number could be even greater."

However, the report also shows that death rates among men-only melanoma of the skin, cancers of the liver, pancreatic and uterine cancer continued to increase during the latest time period (2000 through 2009).