Diagnosed cancer cases increased sharply among men and women in the United States from the early 1970s to the early 1990s but cancer deaths rose at a much smaller rate, says the National Cancer Institute.

Led by a 65.6 increase in prostate cancer, the incidence of carcinogenic disease among men rose by 18.6 percent from 1975-79 to 1987-91, the institute says in the February issue of its monthly journal.The cancer rate among women rose 12.4 percent between the same two periods, led by a 26.2 percent increase in reported breast cancers.

However, the institute said the increases in both breast and prostate cancers appear to result from earlier detections associated with increased use of mammography and other diagnostic techniques.

National mortality rates for all cancers increased at a much slower pace between the two time periods - 3 percent for men and 6 percent for women - and actually declined among both males and females in all age groups under 55.