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1. Cancer death rate falls at record pace

Researchers on Wednesday reported the largest-ever one-year decline in the U.S. cancer death rate, a drop they credited to advances in lung-tumor treatments.

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The overall cancer death rate has been falling about 1.5 percent a year since 1991. It fell 2.2 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to the new American Cancer Society report. That’s the largest drop ever seen in national cancer statistics going back to 1930, said Rebecca Siegel, the lead author.

“It’s absolutely driven by lung cancer,” which accounts for about a quarter of all cancer deaths, she said. Take lung cancer out of the mix, and the 2017 rate drop is 1.4 percent, she added.

Cancer Society researchers also found:

The overall cancer death rate fell by nearly 30 percent from 1991 through 2017.

Death rates from one type of skin cancer dropped even more dramatically than lung cancer – falling seven percent a year recently. That decline in melanoma patients is attributed to drugs that came on the market about nine years ago.

Declines in the death rates from prostate, breast and colon cancer are slowing, for a range of reasons.

2. Naples firefighter responds to crash, finds her stolen car

A firefighter with the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District responded to a crash involving a motorcycle on Monday and found her vehicle that was stolen in late December.

Collier County Sheriff 's deputies arrested Shantae Dolce, 26, of East Naples, on a charge of grand theft auto after Erin Gill noticed her silver Nissan Altima — which she had reported stolen from her driveway — while she was at the crash, according to the arrest report. 

Greater Naples Fire Rescue District responded to the 2000 block of 51st SW around 5:40 p.m. where the driver of a motorcycle was lying on the ground and EMS was attending to him, according to the arrest report.

Gill then walked over to the Nissan, which Dolce was sitting in, and noticed it had the same tag number as the one she had reported stolen. It is unclear from the arrest report if the Dolce was involved in the crash. – Jessica Rodriguez/Staff

3. Gruters may move GOP HQ out of Tallahassee

The chairman of Florida’s Republican Party wonders whether Tallahassee is the right place for the state GOP’s headquarters.

Joe Gruters, who is also a Republican state senator from Sarasota, is forming a committee to explore whether to move the state party’s operations out of The George Bush Republican Center on East Jefferson Street, about four blocks from the Capitol. The three-story building was acquired for about $1 million in 2000 and was dedicated to the former president and father of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Gruters is credited with helping to engineer the campaign that enabled President Donald Trump to carry Florida in 2016.

At the party’s Dec. 7 Statesman’s Dinner, which featured Trump, Gruters told attendees it might be time to vacate the Tallahassee digs, questioning whether the GOP had “the right infrastructure in place for future campaigns.”

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