Local doctor says cancer death rates down

DANVILLE — Research has shown that death rates from cancer are continuing to inch down.  Dr. James Wade, Chairman of the cancer service line and Cancer Institute, Geisinger Health System, explained what these statistics mean.

He said, “It’s really a reflection of the advances balanced against the challenges that remain.  And when you sum those together what we’re seeing is that we are moving in a direction of decreasing that risk of dying from cancer, but there is a long way to go to ultimately achieve that goal.”

Wade said the greatest driver in the decrease of some cancers has been the changes in smoking habits of Americans.  However, he said the occurrence of Melanoma is on the rise. This is the skin cancer commonly linked to tanning.

“The therapy has gotten more effective, and as the therapy has gotten more effective we’ve controlled the cancer better.  As we’ve controlled the cancer better, we have decreased the death rate,” he said.  “Maybe equally as important in more effective therapy is that we’ve also begun to develop therapies that are not only more effective, but potentially are also less toxic.”

While these studies do show an improvement in death rates, there is fear that factors such as bad diets, a lack of physical activity and obesity may surpass tobacco as the leading causes of cancer in the U.S.  (Codi Jade)




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