Though we are all aware of this six letter word and the hardships that it can impose, we may not be as well versed on the statistics and/or the improvements being made.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) released its annual statistics report in January called “Facts & Figures 2018: Rate of Deaths from Cancer Continues Decline.” This report states that the cancer mortality rate dropped an ADDITIONAL 1.7%. This drop follows a two decade declining trend according to the ACS. Since 1991 the death rate for men and women combined has fallen a total of 26%, sparing an estimated 2.4 million lives.
These encouraging figures can be attributed to reduced tobacco use and medical advances for early detection and treatment. The most commonly diagnosed cancers (prostate, lung, and colorectal in men; and breast, lung, and colorectal in women) have better survival rates than ever before.
Lung cancer death rates declined 45% from 1990 to 2015 among men and 19% from 2002 to 2015 among women.
Breast cancer death rates declined 39% from 1989 to 2015 among women.
Prostate cancer death rates declined 52% from 1993 to 2015 among men.
Colorectal cancer death rates declined 52% from 1970 to 2015 among men and women
We still have room to improve; the probability of being diagnosed with cancer is a little more than 1 in 3. An estimated 1,735,350 new cancer cases and 609,640 cancer caused deaths are projected to occur in the US in 2018. Of those new cases, an estimated 6,080 will occur in Montana.
Let’s beat cancer in 2018 by doing our part in preventing cancer and cancer deaths in ourselves and our friends and family.
Ways to prevent cancer according to the ACS include:
Quit smoking and/or avoid second hand smoke
Eat healthy and get active
Maintain a healthy weight
Avoid too much exposure to ultraviolet light, avoid indoor tanning beds, wear SPF, hats, sunglasses, and cover skin with clothing when in the sun for extended periods of time
Ask your healthcare provider when you should begin receiving regular cancer screenings
There’s more good news, insurance companies have been reading these reports too. They have figured out that there is a relationship between early detection and fewer treatments, which reduces their cost. This knowledge benefits thousands of people who have health insurance plans, as insurance companies now offer many preventative services that are of no cost to you. A lot of people don’t know about and/or haven’t taken advantage of the health insurance “gift,” but maybe it’s time we start. Check your plan, see which cancer screenings are available to you without deductible or co-payment, and book an appointment with your healthcare provider. These “free” preventative services are key in cancer prevention and successful treatments that lead to good outcomes and saved lives. Check your plan and book your appointment for your preventative screenings with your healthcare provider or give the team at PMC a call at 406-271-3211.