Cancer Mortality Rates Decline
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Cancer is one of the top causes of death in developed countries.
Although cancer was once known to be something incurable, we have now seen mortality rates declining.
Essentially, this new research from the American Cancer Society suggests that cancer is claiming fewer lives in the United States.
From 1991 to 2017, cancer mortality declined by 29%.
This is huge and means that almost 3 million fewer cases of life lost to cancer occurred than if the rate would not have declined.
From 2016 to 2017 alone, the rate of cancer mortality decreased by 2.2%.
This was the largest decline in a single year that we have ever seen.
Many researchers believe that this is due to reduced deaths from lung cancer and skin cancer called melanoma.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is the name given to various diseases caused by a specific ailment.
In all forms of cancer, the body’s cells begin to divide.
They are unable to stop doing so, and then these cancerous cells spread throughout the body.
There are trillions of cells in the body, and Cancer can start in any part of the body.
Typically human cells grow and divide to form new cells when the body needs them.
When cells grow old they die, and new cells replace them.
When cancer happens, typically this process breaks down.
When the current cells continue to become abnormal, old cells survive even though they should be dying.
This leads to new cells being formed even when they are not needed.
These extra cells begin to divide without stopping and then form growths, we know these as tumors.
Most forms of cancer form solid tumors. Although these are simply masses of tissue, they are dangerous. Cancers of the blood, such as leukemias, usually do not form solid tumors.
Cancerous tumors are known as malignant. This means they are able to spread and invade nearby tissues. As these tumors grow, some of these cells break off and go to other parts of the body. This is facilitated through the blood or the lymph system. They then go on to form new tumors away from the original tumor.
Unlike malignant tumors, benign tumors are not able to spread or invade nearby tissues. Benign tumors can be large but are not considered cancerous. Most of the time once you remove a benign tumor it will not come back, whereas malignant tumors do. Most benign tumors in the body are non-threatening, but benign brain tumors are an exception and can be life-threatening.
Cancer Cells vs Normal Cells
Cancer cells are different from normal cells in that they grow out of control and invade other parts of the body. Another difference is that cancer cells are less specialized than normal cells. Normal cells mature into one specific type of cell, while cancer cells can morph into whichever cell they like. This is why cancer cells can without stopping.
Cancer cells also have no blocker when it comes to continually divide. Cancer cells can begin a process known as programmed cell death. This is also known as apoptosis, which is when the body gets rid of unneeded cells.
Influence the Cells Around Them
Cancer cells are able to change normal cells as well. They can force blood vessels to surround and feed a tumor, which is known as a microenvironment. This is dangerous because cancer cells can induce nearby normal cells to form blood vessels which eventually supply tumors with oxygen and nutrients. This is how tumors grow. These vessels will also be able to act as a waste depositing system for the tumor.
Evade the Immune System
Cancer cells are often able to evade the immune system. This means that although the immune system is a network of organs, tissues, and specialized cells that typically protects the body, cancer can avoid this. Rather than protect the body from infections and other conditions, cancer slips by undetected.
Tumors can also use the immune system in order to thrive. Sometimes cancer cells even use the immune system cells that normally prevent a runaway immune response, to keep the immune system from killing the cancer cells. Your body is essentially tricked into killing itself
Types of Cancer
Lung cancer is a cancer known for many reasons, but specifically known from smoking cigarettes. Because fewer people are smoking cigarettes than ever before, since 1990, the death rate attributable to lung cancer has fallen by 51% for men.
Since 2002, the lung cancer death rate has fallen by 26% for women. This is very high, and then even from 2013 to 2017, the lung cancer death rate fell annually by 5%.
Because of this information, better treatment options for lung cancer has been brought to the forefront. Additionally, the decreasing prevalence of smoking cigarettes is most likely responsible for these changes. Overall though, in history, lung cancer has been the deadliest form of cancer in the United States. The disease inflicts more deaths than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer altogether.
Melanoma has been known for fewer cancer deaths over the last few years and is declining more than skin cancer. Since 2013, the rate of death to melanoma has fallen by 5-6% each year. This is due to immunotherapy and other advanced treatment methods. Because of the increase in the likelihood of survival for melanoma patients, the survival rate has dramatically increased.
The one-year survival rate for melanoma was 55% in 2015, while in 2010 the survival rate was only 42%. Overall, and across all demographics, the survival rate for cancer overall was 67% in 2015.
Smoking and Lung Cancer
In 1964, the Surgeon-General reported that smoking cigarettes cause lung cancer. Before this, the government thought smoking was healthy for you. The next year, the government-mandated cigarette packages to hold safety warnings. They also imposed limits on tobacco advertising. Since then, the percentage of Americans who smoke cigarettes has gone from 42% in 1964 to about 15%.
Despite this, even knowing about the risks, over 45 million Americans smoke cigarettes. It is thought that almost 438,000 of those who suffer from lung cancer deaths each year because of it.
How Smoking Causes Lung Cancer
There are two ways in which smoking increases the risk of cancer.
- Toxins in cigarette smoke damages the DNA in cells. Because cells depend on healthy DNA to control growth, the cancer cells take over and grow into tumors. Specifically, lung cells are most vulnerable to the carcinogenic effects of cigarettes. This is because they are most exposed to cigarette smoke.
- Smoking weakens the body’s immunities. This stops the ability to attack cancer cells.
HOW TO PREVENT LUNG CANCER
If you choose to quit smoking then your risk of developing cancer as a result of smoking falls by 50% after only five years. Finding cancer early is crucial for survival, and it is important to look for the signs of cancer. These include chronic coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, and hoarseness. If you suspect lung cancer, contact your doctor right away.
Are You Suffering From Cancer and Addiction?
If you are suffering from cancer and any form of addiction, we can help.
At Resurgence Behavioral Health we offer a variety of different programs, along with free insurance verification for treatment.
It is possible to quit whatever drug, alcohol, or even cigarettes that you are abusing.
Contact us today to learn more.