National Cancer Survivors Day Highlights Ongoing Battle Against Disease By Dr. Xiantuo Wu
Communities around the world this spring participated in honoring those who have won the battle against cancer. June 7 marked the 28th Annual National Cancer Survivors Day, an international effort to recognize individuals who have survived cancer and to support those still fighting the disease. This occasion serves as a crucial reminder of cancer's prevalence and the importance of focusing on cancer prevention, research and treatment.
Approximately 14 million people around the world each year learn they have cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, more than twice as many people die from cancer than from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. By 2030, cancer will become the No. 1 killer in the U.S., according to a recent report from the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The types of cancer diagnosed most frequently in the U.S. include melanoma, lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
There is hope for many facing this disease. Thanks to ongoing advancements in diagnosis and treatment, survival rates for the more than 100 forms of cancer are increasing. Two of every three people diagnosed with cancer today survive for at least five years, according to the American Cancer Society.
Preventative efforts and early detection are keys to improving cancer survival. Health experts recommend a variety of steps to help reduce the risk of getting cancer and improve the chances of survival if diagnosed. Simple lifestyle modifications and vaccinations have been proven very effective. Avoiding tobacco products is strongly advised, with smoking linked to several types of cancer, including lung cancer, head and neck cancer, bladder cancer and pancreatic cancer. An active lifestyle and healthy diet with limited alcohol and fat intake are also believed to help with prevention of certain types of cancers. Vaccination against the human papilloma virus (HPV) can help prevent cervical cancer, as well as head and neck cancers. Hepatitis B vaccination can also effectively reduce the risk of liver cancer.
Some cancers can also be found early before they have a chance to grow and spread, dramatically increasing the likelihood of beating the disease. The American Cancer Society recommends specific screening guidelines for adults, including yearly mammograms for women 50 to 74 years old, a pap smear with HPV tests for sexually active women, colonoscopy screenings for men and women over 50 years old, and prostate-specific antigen screenings for men older than 50. For more information about cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment, visit www.cancer.org.
HealthCare Partners Medical Group Oncology/Hematology strives to educate patients about cancer prevention, early detection and comprehensive treatment. The leading medical group provides patients with a broad range of therapies for cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted molecular therapy, clinical trials, radiotherapy with image-modulated radiation and high-dose brachytherapy. In addition, patients have access to special services, such as a full-service laboratory, genomic testing, nutritional counseling, genetic counseling, financial counseling, a specialty pharmacy and state-of-the-art treatment centers.
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