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Cancer Is The #1 Killer:
Lets Talk Prevention

Though cancer has dethroned heart disease as the top killer under the age of 85, evidence shows deaths from both have actually improved.

For heart disease particularly, death rates have drastically declined. And while the very oldest continue to die of heart disease more than cancer, a reverse trend is expected to occur by 2018.

Why Heart Disease Death Rates Have Fallen

One possible explanation for this decrease in heart disease deaths is there seems to be fewer smokers than in the past: Between 1965 and 2000, smoking among adults fell from 42 percent to 22 percent.

The decline in heart disease deaths has also been said to reflect the improved surgical techniques and devices -- as well as better drugs to treat heart problems and control high blood pressure -- for those suffering from heart disease.

A 1 percent decline in cancer death rates per year (since 1999) has been accredited to earlier detection, prevention efforts and better treatments; however, cancer still remains the number one killer is western populations.

The Big Four

The new report, covering through 2003 (the latest year for data), shows that men are somewhat more likely to develop cancer and die from it than women, and at earlier ages. Hispanics and Asians have a lower overall cancer incidence and death rate than non-Hispanic whites, while blacks have the highest rates. The four leading cancers are still lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers. About 55% of all cancers diagnosed each year in the U.S. are one of these four.

Lung cancer: Still by far the biggest cancer killer of both men and women. The incidence and mortality rate in men have been declining. While the incidence in women has started to level off, the death rate is still increasing. Unfortunately, there has been no good screening test. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine did recently confirm that CT scans can detect small tumors in people at high risk for lung cancer, but it’s too early to tell whether such screening will actually save lives.

Prostate cancer: Since 1994 the incidence has risen because of early detection by PSA tests. But the death rate has declined, probably due to early diagnosis and improved treatments.

Breast cancer: This remains the most common cancer among women, though nearly twice as many women die from lung cancer. Breast cancer incidence stabilized in 2001 and 2002, and actually seemed to decline in 2003. This follows small increases in the 1980s and 1990s because of increased detection due to wider use of mammography (and perhaps because of increasing obesity and use of hormone replacement therapy). But the death rate has been declining since 1991, thanks to early detection and improved treatments.

Colorectal cancer: The incidence and death rate have been declining, largely because of advances in screening and treatment. Screening, in this case, can actually prevent colon cancer by allowing for the removal of precancerous tissue.

On The Down Side

The news, however, is not good for every type of cancer. For example, the incidence of melanoma (the most serious type of skin cancer), leukemia, and kidney cancer has been increasing, as has the incidence of thyroid cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in women. Though none of these cancers contributes greatly to the total number of cancer cases and deaths in this country, these increases serve as a reminder that cancer comes in many varieties—and that there is still much work to be done in understanding, preventing, and treating cancer.

How To Prevent Cancer

Don’t smoke, avoid secondhand smoke. If tobacco were extinct, cancer rates would fall by about one third.

Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of many cancers, including that of the breast (in postmenopausal women) and colon.
Obesity Boosts Prostate Cancer Mortality
Most People Unaware of Obesity-Cancer Link

Consume a healthy diet, with an emphasis on plant sources. Eat at least nine servings (or as many as possible) of a variety of vegetables and fruits each day. Drink Green Tea. Stick to high-fibre cereals and choose whole grains as much as possible. Limit your intake of processed and red meats.
Prostate Cancer: the Diet Angle
The Benefits of Eating Broccoli
Aging and Immunity
Anti-Cancer Compound in Green Tea Identified
Fibre 'Lowers Breast Cancer Risk'
Cancer-Fighting Foods, Supplements

Stay physically active. This not only helps with weight control, but may also reduce the risk of some cancers in other ways.
Insight Into The Anti-Cancer Effect Of Exercise
Exercise Prevents Skin and Bowel Cancer
More Evidence Exercise Prevents Cancer
Exercise May Cut Older Women's Breast Cancer Risk
Exercise & Preventing Disease

Limit sun exposure to 10 minutes increments throughout the day exposing your entire torso and face. Mounting evidence suggests the further away from the equator you live, the higher your risk of cancer. Do use protection but take caution on the use of some sunscreens which themselves contain cancer-causing agents. Avoid sun burning at all costs.
Vitamin D For Cancer Prevention
More Evidence Vitamin D Prevents Cancer
Sunshine Might Stop Skin Cancers
Sun Can Show a Cancer Benefit
The Sunshine Vitamin

If you must drink alcoholic beverages, consume no more than one drink per day (if at all). Alcohol itself is a Class A human carcinogen and increases the risk of breast, colon, liver, and oral cancers. No amount of alcohol is a good amount. If you want to reap the benefits of red wine, drink pure grape juice.
Alcohol, Hormones May Increase Breast Cancer Risk
Alcohol Underestimated As Cancer Cause

Get screened. Talk to your doctor about when and how often. The tests include mammograms and Pap smears for women, prostate screening for men, and colorectal screening for all adults.

- The following is a news report on
Cancer Awareness by Emily Right:


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