Cancer is a horrible disease, but there is some hope as we begin a new year.
The American Cancer Society has released its annual report and death rates from cancer have decreased by 25 percent since the early 1990s. That means 2.1 million fewer people have died from the disease.
This is fantastic news for Becky Waara, who is a cancer survivor herself and has other relatives who have been touched by the disease.
"After my mom passed away and then my brother in law passed away from lung cancer, I became very active in Relay For Life, which is the signature event of the American Cancer Society. So knowing that those dollars that I've been fundraising and working hard to do and just spread the word about cancer research, early detection, all of those things, it really warms my heart now to see the numbers that are coming out, proving that we're making success," said Waara.
Men and African Americans are still more likely to be diagnosed and die from cancer, although the racial gap is closing. Experts credit lower smoking rates and advances in early detection and treatment for the drop.
The American Cancer Society hopes that this trend can continue into the future.
"Once we implement everything we know in terms of prevention, we'll continue to see those rates drop. Also, we have a lot of work to do and we need to continue to fight, continue to research, continue to look at prevention and early detection as well as ways to treat cancer and we'll continue to see the mortality rate drop," said American Cancer Society Senior Market Manager Samantha Rother.
Despite the good news in the report, cancer is still the second leading cause of death in the United States, just behind heart disease.
There's many ways you can help fund research to find a cure for the disease. One of the best ways is to donate during the Eagles Cancer Telethon on January 14th and 15th at the Mayo Civic Center.