Many newspaper editorials serve as starting blocks that can reveal readers’ strong opinions on both sides of an issue.
We expect today’s piece, however, will be greeted with 100% affirmation: It’s about the growing factual evidence that most types of cancer can be beaten.
That’s especially true in the United States. This past week, the American Cancer Society announced that the cancer mortality rate in America has plummeted nearly 30% since its peak in 1991, with the biggest annual decline occurring in 2017.
It helps that fewer residents in the U.S. are smoking, which has reduced the incidence of lung cancer, in particular.
More Americans are also being diagnosed with cancer at earlier stages, thanks to better tests and screening, increasing the odds of survival.
Check out these upbeat statistics: The five-year survival rate is now 98% for prostate cancer, 92% for melanoma and 90% for breast cancer.
Between 2013 and 2017, the death rate for men with melanoma declined by a stunning 7.6% annually. Screening and treatment improvements also helped reduce the death rate for breast cancer by an average of 1.5% annually from 2008 to 2017.
Advancing swiftly over the past decade are scientific understanding and its genetic determinants of cancer.
Personal DNA testing companies like 23andMe arm people with more information about their risk factors.
Most women now know, for example, that mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes increase the risk for breast and ovarian cancers.
Breakthrough therapies that harness a victim’s immune system have also increased survival rates by multiples over traditional treatments such as chemotherapy. That’s especially true for cancer with low survival rates such as metastatic melanoma and lung cancer.
But on the negative side, is the reality that drugs require enormous investment and therefore aren’t cheap once they’re approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Diagnostic and treatment advances in the United States are also accelerating. Google’s artificial intelligence can now detect breast and lung cancers with better accuracy — meaning fewer false positives and negatives – than radiologists provide.
The Wall Street Journal reported that even the report’s gloomiest news has a silver lining. Death rates for liver cancer are rising faster than for other forms of the disease, but Hepatitis C drugs could greatly reduce the incidence and have come down 80% in price since 2014.
The centuries-old cancer scourge is well known to those people who have received a chilling diagnosis or know people who have suffered under the gloom of attempting to become cancer-free.
With the enormous worries about world events in recent weeks, we thought you might like to read some good news.
It’s vital for everyone to know that early knowledge of the bitter disease is the best way to get help in trying to increase life expectancy.