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Deaths from the most common lung cancer are falling fast, hinting at the impact of improved treatment



For the most common type of lung cancer in Americans, deaths are falling faster than new cases, a new study reports, suggesting  — but not proving — that new therapies targeting genetic mutations are having an outsize effect on survival.

Mortality rates for patients with non-small cell lung cancer, which accounts for three-quarters of cancers originating in the lung, declined for men by 3.2% per year from 2006 to 2013. The drop accelerated to 6.3% per year from 2013 to 2016, when targeted therapies were introduced. The declines in both periods outstripped the drop in new cases. Two-year survival jumped from 26% for men diagnosed in 2001 to 35% in 2014.

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