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Cancer Death Rates Decreasing

By: Lindsey Ward Email
By: Lindsey Ward Email

October 15, 2007

More and more people are surviving the feared and often fatal diseases this according to the National Institutes of Health, but there is one specific fight against cancer making more headway than others.

Lung, breast and prostate cancers are often deadly, but now making the list of the top fifteen seeing the most improvements

Between the years 2002 and 2004, cancer deaths dropped an average of more than 2 percent a year, that's double the average rate from the years 1993-2001.

However, the cancer with the highest decline in death rates is colorectal.

The study released Monday says, deaths from colon cancer are dropping almost 5 percent each year.

“I've seen far more colons with little dinky polyps and no cancer than I have seen people coming in with things too far gone, there's clearly been an improvement,” said Stephen Bickston, M.D., Associate Professor in UVa’s Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

The Center for Disease Control is attributing early detection for these latest statistics.

Doctor Bickston said Virginia should be proud. The commonwealth was one of a few states that got an A from the government in terms of access to screening.

“It used to be that people would compete for patients in the world of gastroenterology, now they compete for partners, because in our area people have figured it out that getting a colonoscopy once you get past the laxatives is not particularly hard on you and could conceivably save your life,” Bickston said.

Despite this good news, doctors say there is still a long way to go and they will continue to preach the importance of screening early and often.

The complete report can be found in the November 15th issue of the journal Cancer.


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