Early Detection Saves Lives

The latest National Cancer Institute (NCI) research and data shows that our nation is making progress toward major cancer-related objectives for improving the health of Americans, including:

  • Death rates for the four most common cancers (lung, colon, breast and prostate), as well as for all cancers combined, continue to decline.
  • The rate of cancer incidence has declined since the early 2000s.
  • Length of cancer survival has increased for all cancers combined. For all sites, the percent of patients surviving five years from diagnosis in 2001 (most recent year with five-year follow-up) was 68.3%. Improvement in survival must continue in order to meet the 2010 objective for five-year survival of 70%.
  • Adult cigarette smoking prevalence has been slowly declining since 1991, while smoking prevalence among adolescents has declined since the late 1990's. Despite these declines, one in five adults and adolescents is a smoker.
  • Substantial decreases in secondhand smoke exposure have been realized since the beginning of the 1990’s. This includes biological measures, as well as work place policies, rules about smoking in the home and, more recently through state and local smoke-free indoor air legislation.
  • Sun protective behaviors have risen slightly. But young adults, especially young men, show much lower levels of this behavior.
  • Teen indoor tanning has decreased since 2005. However, usage by young women remains high.
  • The most often recommended early detection tests are for breast, prostate, colon and cervical cancers. When detected early, survival rates for many cancers increase dramatically.
  • Here are a few of the many websites that provide helpful information and guidelines about screening tests for these cancers, such as mammography; PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test and DRE (digital rectal exam); Pap smear; and colonoscopy.

If you need more information on options after cancer has been detected, please visit the 21st Century Oncology web site here to find a center close to you.