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Cancer Declining, But is Leading Cause of Death in Wisconsin

A new report from the American Cancer Society says cancer is on the decline in Wisconsin, but it's the leading cause of death in the state.
A new report from the American Cancer Society says cancer is on the decline in Wisconsin, but it's the leading cause of death in the state.
November 4, 2013

MILWAUKEE, Wis. - According to the American Cancer Society, more than 31,000 Wisconsinites will be diagnosed with a potentially serious cancer in 2013; more than 11,000 will die of cancer.

However, Beth Brunner of the American Cancer Society said progress is being made.

"We've seen declines in the cancer incidence rates; we've seen declines in the cancer mortality rate. But we want to continue to make progress, by investing in research to improve treatment, raising awareness of the risk reduction behavior and - specifically with breast and colorectal, prostate and cervical cancer - we really want to focus on early detection," Brunner said.

The report said lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for men and women in Wisconsin. The most frequent cancer diagnosis for men is prostate cancer and for women it's breast cancer.

Cancer has surpassed heart disease as the leading cause of death in Wisconsin, but Brunner said the death rate for all cancers combined declined by 13 percent in Wisconsin between 1995 and 2010. Early detection and treatment are helping bring down the death rate, she explained.

Brunner said the American Cancer Society remains focused on helping to raise money for cancer research and helping to find better methods of early detection and treatment. But there's another factor to consider now, which is our aging population, she added.

"We know as you get older your risk of cancer increases. So we're just going to have to continue to make sure that people are informed, they know how to protect themselves and reduce their risk of cancer; they know what they should be looking for and talking to their physician about getting screened early, and are just taking good care of themselves," she emphasized.

The majority of breast cancers can be treated successfully if detected early; Brunner suggested an annual mammogram starting at age 40. The American Cancer Society recommends screening for colorectal cancer beginning at age 50 for men and women who are at average risk. When prostate cancer is detected early, the 5-year survival rate is now nearly 100 percent.

The full report is available at www.wicancer.org.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI