March 29, 2012

U.S. Cancer Rates Reportedly Declining

A new report released on Wednesday has U.S. cancer rates on the decline. This decline is the result of a more than 10 year trend. Since 1999, the rate of new cancer cases has been slowly shrinking at a rate of about half a percent each year. Over all, the rate of fatal cancers has dropped by 1.5 percent in adults and 1.7 percent in children. This news comes from a new collaborative report by various cancer groups.

According to Fox News, Dr. Marcus Piescia of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of four organizations responsible for the report said, “This is good news. There has been positive momentum for several years now and that continues.”

Ever since 1998, a report is released annually listing nearly every cancer case reported in the United States. A group of government agencies, including the CDC and the American Cancer Society issues the report and, by studying these annual results, have been watching the national decline of cancer reports.

Health officials say better screening, advancement in treatment, and cancer prevention efforts are all to thank for the declining cancer rates in the US. Better eating habits and an awareness of unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, also played a part in driving the cancer numbers down.

For example, as anti-smoking campaigns and efforts began to increase, lung cancer began to decline. In 2008, lung cancer death rates declined for women for the second consecutive year. The lung cancer death rates have been falling in men since the early 1990s.

The rate of fatal prostate and colon cancer cases has also been on the decline, according to the results. Not only has the death rates of these cancers been falling, but so too have the rates of new cases of these cancers.

Breast cancer fatalities has also been on the decline. Where this cancer stands apart from the rest of the cancers, however, is the rate of new cases. While new cases of other cancers have been slowly and steadily falling,  cases of new breast cancer numbers have begun to level off since 2004. Health officials believe this leveling off is causes by a plateau in screening rates.

Amidst all the good news in this new report, health officials still have some areas of concern. For instance, the number of new cases of skin cancer and skin cancer deaths is on the rise. Experts believe the rise and popularity of tanning beds are to blame for this increase. Some experts even predict this particular cancer to be one to watch for the next several years.

“I think this is a future epidemic in the making,” said Plescia, director of the CDC´s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.

Another lasting concern for these health officials is the nations overall weight problem. Statistics show 2 out of every 3 adults to be overweight. This kind of excess weight is causing new case rates of esophagus, uterus, and kidney cancers to rise. As insulin increases with weight, the risk of insulin fueled cancer also increases.

According to Fox News, John Seffrin, the Cancer Society´s chief executive officer said, “For people who do not smoke, excess weight and lack of sufficient physical activity may be among the most important risk factors for cancer.”


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