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ACS: Deaths From Cancer Declining in U.S.

Statistics from the American Cancer Society (ACS) show declining death rates among men in the United States due to lung, prostate and colon cancer, the top three causes of cancer deaths in males, with death rates for colon and breast cancer among women also in decline.  Deaths due to lung cancer among women, however, are on the rise.

The statistics on cancer in the US are contained in the ACS report "Cancer Facts and Figures 2004."

In its report, the ACS estimated that 1,368,030 million people in the US will be diagnosed with cancer this year.  It also projected deaths of around 563,700, a figure that translates to roughly 1,500 people dying of cancer each day.

Cancer is next only to heart disease as the leading cause of death in the US.  It accounts for about 25% of all deaths in the country.

The statistics from the report suggest, however, that cancer can be dealt with.  Advances in screening technology have made early detection possible, while new treatment techniques have contributed to a rise in the five-year relative survival rate for all cancers taken together.

The ACS put that rate 63%, which represents the proportion of people still alive five years after being diagnosed with cancer.

Lung cancer causes more deaths among both men and women than any other type of cancer.  For men, however, the death rate has been dropping by 1.8% per year since 1991.  Death rates for women, however, have been increasing steadily, such that more women have been dying from lung cancer than from breast cancer since 1987.

About 87% of all lung cancer deaths are due to smoking. This makes smoking the most significant risk factor in the occurrence of lung cancer in the US. Smoking also accounts for 30% of all cancer deaths. In its report, the ACS projected 180,000 deaths due to tobacco use in the United States in 2004. 

Lifestyle choices also have a bearing on death rates from cancer.

The ACS pointed out that nearly a third of all cancer deaths that occur each year in the US may be traced to physical inactivity, obesity, and nutritional factors. 

The ACS thus recommended a number of lifestyle choices, including maintaining a healthy weight throughout life, adopting a physically active lifestyle, limiting alcohol consumption to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women, and eating healthy foods, particularly those from plant sources;

Disparities in mortality rates, meanwhile, continue among the various racial and ethnic groups that make up the US population, with African-Americans having the highest death rate from malignancies of the prostate, lung, colon, female breast, and uterine cervix.  African Americans also have the highest date rate among all racial and ethnic groups from all cancer sites combined. 

The ACS report cited the death rate from cancer among African American men as running 1.4 times higher than the rate for white men.  The disparity is slightly lower for women, with African American women having a death rate from cancer 1.2 times higher than that of white women.

  Everyone's Guide to Cancer Therapy: How Cancer Is Diagnosed, Treated, and Managed Day to Day - "This book is a one stop guide to so many things involving therapies that it is hard to know where to start. Cancer patients feel this is the best consumer book out there. Information is in plain English, simple terms, with lots of illustrations."
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At Face Value: My Struggle With A Disfiguring Cancer - A cancer survivor's story by Terry Healey.  Terry was diagnosed with Fibrosarcoma in 1984.  He had extensive radiation treatment after "too many surgeries to count," and has been cancer free since 1986.

Cancer Support Group Mailing List - This is a mailing list for general cancer information, include lung cancer.

Financial Assistance  for Cancer Care - provides an extensive listing of resources available that may offer financial assistance to help cover costs of cancer care.
Top 10 Questions after Cancer Diagnosis - Virtual Hospital provides this informative lecture hitting all the major points about diagnosis and treatment.
  Ask a Physician - From Mayo Health - Do you have specific questions or concerns? Click here to ask a specialist, or browse frequently asked questions about cancer.
  Web casts - Alphacancer provides  discussions between leading health professionals on a particular topic.  Currently available topics include breast cancer and colon cancer.

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