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Australian Times


Cancer Rates Falling in the US

March 29, 2012 by Ben Collins in Health

A new report published by four major US national cancer tracking groups has revealed that cancer death rates have fallen for men (1.7%), women (1.3%) and children (1.5%) between 2004 and 2008.

The most common cancers diagnosed in Australia are lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancer, and these have all fallen in the US. Most positively, new cases of breast cancer actually fell by 0.5%, though others such as kidney cancer increased.

Cancer specialists put the decline down to better education, diagnosis, treatment and overall funding to achieve these goals. Declining smoking rates should also contribute to future falls, and positive initiatives such as plain paper packaging will only help this case.

Ahmedin Jemal, who is the American Cancer Society’s vice president for surveillance research said of the findings:

We know much more in terms of cancer prevention, particularly with regard to smoking…quitting smoking substantially reduces the risk of developing cancers related to smoking. But there are still many people who smoke.

The Centre for Disease Control reported that in 2010 there were 43.5 million smokers in the US, which represents around 25% of the population. The other major worry for cancer prevention is the cancer risks associated with obesity.

In any case, whilst the decline might be small, it is encouraging to see that the obesity problem has not seen a rise in the overall amount of cancer found in the US. Australia can expect to see some of the same benefits from their cancer fighting strategies.

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