Cancer declining

By Stacey Olivas

Leading cancer organizations such as the American Cancer Society
and the National Cancer Institute reported cancer deaths declined
at an average of 2.1 percent each year from 2002 to 2004. The rate
is nearly double the annual decrease from 1993 to

2002.

The decline of cancer rates was more prominent among men at 2.6
percent a year, than women, 1.8 percent a year, according to the
report.

Cancer deaths have rapidly continued to drop due to improved
treatments and early detections.

“The biggest impact has been that people are now surviving
primary cancers because they are coming in for early detections and
screenings,” said Dr. Charles Maletz from Student Health
Services.

Students are realizing the importance of targeting cancer at a
young age.

“I have a family history of cancer and after hearing that
genetics has such a huge factor in my chances of getting cancer, I
now know that I need to start getting screened as soon as
possible,” said Brandi Del Valle, a second-year liberal studies
student.

Federal health officials are strongly encouraging people to get
early screenings for certain cancers, especially if they are a high
risk and have a family history of certain cancers.

“It is very important for everyone to take [a look at] personal
family history. Talk to your relatives including your parents,
grandparents, and find out what sort of medical problems they have
what you might be at risk for,” said Maletz. “By having regular
screenings for certain types of cancers after a certain age with
regards mammograms and colonoscopies you can cut your risk. Also,
sunscreen utilization is important now more than ever.”

According to the report, more than half a million deaths a year
are from cancer, and tobacco is still the leading cause of this
deadly disease.

“The biggest way to prevent yourself from being at risk of
cancer is to stop cigarette smoking and your exposure to secondhand
smoke,” said Maletz.

There are simple methods to reduce the risk of getting
cancer.

The human papilloma virus vaccine, reduces the rates of cervical
cancer in young women. Colonoscopies are used to screen people for
colon cancer and sunscreen is very preventative in skin cancer.

Among those diagnosed with cancer, more effective combinations
of chemotherapy regimens are helping more people survive it these
days.

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