Overall cancer rates down. Mesothelioma still trending up.

The number of cancer deaths in the United States dropped slightly in 2003, the first such decline since 1930. Good news, attributed to cutbacks in smoking, better nutrition, better treatment.

Unfortunately, mesothelioma is still an intractable form of cancer. And the numbers of mesothelioma patients, although small compared to all cancer patients, is slowly buy surely growing. This is almost sure to continue, as the latency period of mesothelioma is very long and asbestos exposure in decades past will continue to lead to new mesothelioma cases.