Cancer deaths decline, but a long way to go
Cancer deaths have declined 20 percent in the last two decades. And while that’s good news, the American Cancer Society (ACS) reminds us that we have a long way to go to eliminate the disease and make sure treatment is available to everyone, including the underserved.
The report found that 1.2 million lives were saved between 1991-2009. More than 150,000 people survived in 2009 alone. The analysis also showed that deaths from the four most common cancers—lung, colon, breast and prostate—also were on the decline.
Among the reasons for the decline: Advances in early detection, treatment and an increasing number of people kicking the smoking habit. The Cancer Society warns, however, that cancer deaths from melanoma, cancers of the pancreas, liver and thyroid are on the rise for both men and women.
Many of those who survived cancer benefitted from access to expert care, top doctors and well-equipped hospitals. Society officials says it’s extremely important to extend that access to those least able to afford it.
“Not all demographic groups have benefitted equally from these gains, particularly those diagnosed with colorectal or breast cancer, where earlier detection and better treatments are credited for the improving trends,” said John R. Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, in a statement. “We can and must close this gap so that people are not punished for having the misfortune of being born poor and disadvantaged.”
For more information about cancer facts and treatments, visit the American Cancer Society.
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