Cancer research is an ongoing event, which is good because the more we think we understand about cancer the less we actually do. Cancer is always evolving and, more frustratingly, new types are always arising. The healthcare industry and society as a whole rely on researchers’ findings to devise effective cancer treatments such as those we offer at our CyberKnife treatment center and, hopefully, to one day prevent cancer altogether. For now, however, we have to make do with the knowledge we do have, which is quite a bit. Below are a few facts about cancer worth noting.
Cancer Can Be Prevented
According to findings from an American Cancer Society study, at least 42% of cancers are avoidable, including 19% of all smoking and tobacco-related cancers. 18% of cancers are caused by obesity, inactivity, poor nutrition, and excessive alcohol consumption. Many more are caused by infectious agents such as hepatitis C, hepatitis B, human papillomavirus and helicobacter pylori, all of which can be prevented via vaccination, lifestyle changes and immediate treatment of the infection.
What’s more, the majority of skin cancers can be prevented with something as simple as sunscreen. The incidence rate of melanoma, one of the fastest-growing skin cancers, can be on the drastic decline if only individuals would stop using indoor tanning devices.
Screening also helps reduce the risk of cancer. Certain cancers such as colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and cervical cancer can all be detected and removed in their early stages with early routine screening.
Survival Rate Is on the Incline
Thanks to ongoing research and advanced cancer treatment, cancer survival rates are on the up. Over the past three decades, the five-year survival rate for all cancers increased by 20% among whites and 24% among blacks. The survival rates for whites and blacks are 70% and 63% respectively. In addition to advanced treatments such as those at our CyberKnife treatment center, early detection, and greater awareness have helped to drastically improve survival rates.
Childhood Cancer Rates Are Increasing
Though it is something no parent wants to think about, the reality is that cancer is just as much of a threat for children as it is adults. The incidence rates of childhood cancer, which refers to cancers that occur in individuals between 0 and 14 years of age, have increased by 0.6% over the past four decades. However, the good news is that mortality rates for childhood cancer patients have decreased by more than two-thirds in the same period which, again, is due to improved treatment and early detection. Clinical trials also play a major role in this positive trend.
15.5 Million Living Americans Have a Cancer History
As of 2016, 15.5 million Americans with a cancer history were still alive and well. Though some of the individuals included in the statistics were recently diagnosed or undergoing treatment, the majority received their diagnosis years earlier and presented no current evidence of disease.
The Progress Against Cancer Is Notable
The best way to measure the progress against cancer is via death rates. It is true that the overall age-adjusted cancer death rate rose in the early 20th century, but researchers attribute this mainly to the tobacco epidemic. In 1991, at the peak of the epidemic, there were 215 cancer deaths per 100,000 individuals. Two decades later, that number had dropped to just 159 per 100,000 deaths, a decrease of 26%. Over that two-decade period, 2.3 million fewer cancer deaths occurred. The areas of greatest improvement involved breast, lung, colorectal and prostate cancers.
Learn More at CyberKnife Center in Orange County
Cancer can still be a frightening disease, but thanks to ongoing cancer research, improved treatments, and early detection, it is less scary than it once was. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with cancer and wants to benefit from research efforts, reach out to our CyberKnife treatment center today.