Health

Half of cancer deaths preventable

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 24, 2006

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At least 50% of all deaths from cancer could have been prevented if commonly accepted screening modalities were fully used and healthier lifestyles were more prevalent, according to an annual report from the American Cancer Society.

"Cancer Prevention & Earlier Detection Facts & Figures, 2006," published this month, found that tobacco consumption was at its lowest level since World War II, but its use still was causing 170,000 cancer deaths annually. Nearly 190,000 cancer deaths were related to poor nutrition, physical inactivity and obesity.

The Society also is raising alarms about the use of common cancer screening tests. They have made a significant difference in cancer mortality, but access is far from universal. For example, only 55% of women over the age of 40 reported receiving a mammogram within the past year, and 79% had a Pap smear in the past three years.

"Although we are winning the war on cancer, this is a remarkable opportunity to save hundreds of thousands of lives and to reduce suffering from this disease with lifestyle changes and an increased use of proven screening strategies," said ACS President Carolyn D. Runowicz, MD.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2006/04/24/hlbf0424.htm.

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