By Larry Backus
The Fairfield Glade Advisory Committee of the American Cancer Society (ACS) has good news to report, as well as sobering statistics. Here is a brief synopsis of more detailed information available at www.cancer.org/cancer/news/annual-report. The rate of death from cancer in the U.S. continues to decline among both women and men for the most common forms of cancer including lung, colon, breast and prostate cancer. This trend began in the early 1990s and is continuing as the weight of previous decades of enormous medical research, nutritional education and legislative advocacy has now begun to show encouraging and measurable progress in the war against cancer. Therefore, we do not need to continue to donate our hard earned funds to fight this insidious disease, right? You may want to read the rest of this article if you think we have cancer licked.
Since 1971 when Congress and President Nixon declared war on cancer, it has taken more than 20 years and billions in research funds to begin to slow down and finally change the trend statistics of new cancer incidences and deaths in the United States. This statement only applies to certain forms of cancer, previously mentioned, that produce nearly half of all cancer incidences in the U.S. Here are the most current statistics: new incidence of cancer reported in the United States for 2012 is estimated to be 1,638,910. U.S. deaths from cancer during 2012 are estimated at 577,190; estimated deaths from cancer in Tennessee are estimated at 36,610. These are not merely statistics, these numbers are about our fellow countrymen, Tennesseans, friends, neighbors and relatives.
We are fortunate to live in a country that leads the fight against cancer. Cancer is an enormous global health burden. Today, cancer accounts for one of every eight deaths worldwide. More than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. In 2008, there were 12.7 million cases of cancer diagnosed and 7.6 million deaths from cancer around the world. These annual statistics are on a par with the worst wars in history, and they will never stop; they will only increase unless we win the war on cancer.
Yes, you may ignore this war; after all, we residents of Fairfield Glade are among the most fortunate. Look around, no matter how wealthy, or how poor we think we are, we are among the most fortunate one percent of the population of planet earth. But we do have a big stake in this war. Consider the latest percentage statistics (2006-'08) of developing cancer in the United States: At age 60-69: men 16 percent, or one in six; women 13.34 percent, or one in 10. At age 70+: men 38.27 percent or one in three; women 26.68 percent, or one in four. From birth to death, the statistics remain: men 44.85 percent or one in two; Women 38.08 percent or one in three. Over the next few weeks we will write more about how you can avoid cancer and how you can help win the war against cancer.