The report also indicates that men have a 44 percent chance of developing cancer in their lifetime, while women have a 38 percent chance, based on the general population. Women, it states, are more likely to develop cancer earlier in life.
The overall cancer death rate rose for most of the 20th century, peaking at 215.1 deaths per 100,000 people in 1991, according to the report. A booming tobacco industry is largely blamed for the steady climb in cancer-related deaths, which were mostly cancer of the lungs.
Reduced smoking prevalence sparked a decline of lung cancer-related deaths in the mid-1980s throughout America.
Healthy lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, as well as a healthy, low-fat diet and exercise, have been shown to reduce a person's risk of getting cancer, Sweetenham said. Regular screening is also beneficial.
The Huntsman Cancer Institute recently announced an expansion of its facilities, nearly doubling the available research space, which will allow physicians and their teams to focus more on potential treatments.
"It's a big plus for us in the state," Sweetenham said, adding that larger facilities can attract more specialists to Utah and to the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
"There are so many cancers on the brink of better treatments, and there have been improvements in some diseases where there hasn't been much improvement in a number of years," he said.
Decreasing death rates also provides more time to employ various treatments other than chemotherapy.
"The progress we are seeing is good, even remarkable, but we can and must do even better," said John Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society.
The American Cancer Society states that "further progress can be accelerated by applying existing cancer control knowledge across all segments of the population," including the poor and otherwise disadvantaged populations.
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