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American Cancer Society's 2016 Facts and Figures

CaSfA's most recent newsletter contains my notes from the American Cancer Society's 2016 Facts and Figures.  It's a lengthy document that summarizes current scientific information about cancer in the United States. To download the document visit:

Here's just a few of my notes from the report:

Can Cancer Be Prevented?
“A substantial proportion of cancers could be prevented.” Tobacco use is a major cause of some cancers. “In 2016, about 188,800 of the estimated 595,690 cancer deaths in the US will be caused by cigarette smoking”.   It is also estimated “that about 20% of all cancers diagnosed in the US are related to body fatness, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption, and/or poor nutrition, and thus could also be prevented.” “Certain cancers are related to infectious agents, such as human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Many of these cancers could be avoided by preventing these infections through behavioral changes or vaccination, or by treating the infection. Many of the more than 5 million skin cancer cases that are diagnosed annually could be prevented by protecting skin from excessive sun exposure and not using indoor tanning devices.”
Incidence of New Cancer Cases and Deaths from Cancer in 2016                                     About 1,685,210 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in the US; 37,620 in Massachusetts.  About 595,690 Americans are expected to die of cancer; 12,630 in Massachusetts.  Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US, exceeded only by heart disease, and accounts for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths.
“The total cancer death rate rose for most of the 20th century because of the tobacco epidemic, peaking in 1991 at 215 cancer deaths per 100,000 persons. However, from 1991 to 2012, the rate dropped 23% because of reductions in smoking, as well as improvements in early detection and treatment. This decline translates into the avoidance of more than 1.7 million cancer deaths. Death rates are declining for all four of the most common cancer types-lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate.”

Risk of Developing Cancer
Cancer usually develops in older people; 86% of all cancers in the United States are diagnosed in people 50 years of age or older. Smoking, eating an unhealthy diet, or not being physically active will increase one’s risk of developing cancer. “Lifetime risk refers to the probability that an individual will develop or die from cancer over the course of a lifetime. In the US, the lifetime risk of developing cancer is 42% (1 in 2) in men and 38% (1 in 3) in women.”

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