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Cancer deaths decreasing across Southwest Virginia, following national trend

SALEM, Va. – Fewer people are dying from cancer across the country and local doctors tell 10 News that's happening in our area too.

The death rate from cancer has dropped by 29 percent over the last few decades, according to the American Cancer Society.

Experts said that it is largely because of a decline in lung cancer, due to fewer people smoking and better treatments.

"I think we'll see a continued drop in cancer deaths because of screening, because of better treatments. We have immunotherapies, now targeted therapies for lung cancer, whereas breast cancer has been the lead in that as far as targeted therapies are concerned. We've seen a significant drop in breast cancer and I think we'll see the same thing in lung cancer," said Dr. Nelson Greene, who works in pulmonary medicine at LewisGale Medical Center.

2016 to 2017 saw the biggest ever single-year drop in overall cancer deaths.


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