Cancer deaths continue to fall

By Messenger Staff | Published Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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Volunteers are working hard making preparations for Relay For Life of Wise County this spring, and earlier this month the American Cancer Society (ACS) released some positive news about cancer. The organization said cancer death rates have continued to fall in the United States, for men and women, maintaining a trend that began in the early 1990s.

That’s the focus of a report released by ACS, the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The report, titled in part “Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2009,” sums up trends in U.S. incidence rates for the most common cancers.

Since the year 2000, overall cancer death rates have declined 1.8 percent per year in men, 1.4 percent in women and 0.6 percent per year in children.

Certain cancers are diagnosed less frequently. In men, 5 out of the 17 most common cancers – including prostate cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer and stomach cancer – were diagnosed less often. Unfortunately, in men, other cancers increased in frequency, including cancers of the kidney, pancreas, liver, thyroid, melanoma, and myeloma.

For women, cancers of the lung, colon and rectum, bladder, cervix, oral cavity and pharynx, ovary and stomach declined, while thyroid, melanoma, kidney, pancreas, leukemia, liver and uterus increased.

According to Dr. J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, this is good news, but there is still work to be done with research and increased cancer care.

“Let it be our hope and prayer that these annual reports for years to come will show continued success in reducing the burden and devastation of cancer, and unwelcome loss of life,” he wrote in his blog on “If we concentrate our attention and our resources, we can make that dream a reality for many years to come.”

As in years past, the people of Wise County will do their part to raise money for cancer-related research with Relay For Life. The next team meeting is 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18, at Candlewood Suites in Decatur.

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