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Encouraging News on Cancer in Minnesota

January 19, 2007


New statistics from the American Cancer Society show a drop in cancer deaths in the United States, and in Minnesota. Matt Flory with the American Cancer Society in Minnesota says a new study records the second straight drop in reported deaths.

"We're very encouraged because for the second time in the last 70 years, we're seeing a decrease in the number of cancer deaths in Minnesota."

Flory cautions that while the latest health trends are encouraging, they're just a step.

"We still need to address some of the disparate impact of cancer. In some of the communities of color and ethnic communities, there are greater rates of cancer, both in new cases and in cancer deaths. We're not sure exactly why that is the case, but we're doing everything we can to target education messages out to those communities and to eliminate health disparities in cancer."

He says there are still other concerns. For example, lung cancer mortality rates among women continue to increase and the report emphasizes the need for early screening, which can detect the disease and allow earlier treatment.

Flory points out estimates are almost one and a half million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and over a half-million will die from it. The most common cancers among men and women are prostate, breast, lung, bronchus, colon and rectum.

According to Flory, there are ways to reduce the risk.

"The best thing to do to prevent cancer in the first place is to not smoke. Also eat reasonable sizes and make sure you get exercise. In addition, it's important to get the appropriate tests in screening, so we can catch it early and treat it effectively."

He says the latest numbers show cancer deaths in Minnesota, now about 9,000 a year, were down one percent, double the national decrease.

The American Cancer Society report is online at www.cancer.org/statistics.

Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN