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Radio Shows | Making Sure Cancer Deaths Decline | mp3wmawav

Making Sure Cancer Deaths Decline MD Anderson Cancer Center is a premier hospital for cancer treatment so when its president wrote an op-ed article in our local paper, the Houston chronicle, we took an interest.

The article outlined 10 steps to reduce both cancer deaths and the number of new cases. You can find the steps on our website. They're important because though cancer rates are falling, forty percent of Americans will develop cancer in their lifetime.

A major focus of the article is the importance of clinical and basic research. It's key to keeping cancer rates on the decline. We need new tools for early diagnosis and detection of cancer. We also need to better understand the genetic basis of cancer.

In previous episodes, we talked about new diagnostics especially ones that look for alterations in certain proteins. Are there too many, too little? Or are they where they shouldn't be? For example the CA125 protein can signal ovarian cancer and now a urine test for the Bcl2 protein may offer even earlier detection.

Gene based tests also show great potential and may be the next generation of early diagnosis. Already some women test for the BCR2 gene to see if they will develop breast cancer.

Besides better detection, therapies have improved. Innovations in biomedical imaging allow doctors to use radiation on tumors directly without killing healthy neighboring tissue. Also, anti-angiogenesis drugs work by inhibiting the growth of blood vessels that provide oxygen and nutrients to tumor cells.

Finally, as we better understand how cancer cells are programmed we're getting to the point where we can go into these cells and "correct" the problems by genetic engineering.

In 2007, treatment and lost productivity due to cancer cost us more than 100 billion dollars. That should give our legislators the incentive to continue funding lifesaving research.

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For more information…

American Cancer Society Statistics for 2009
"The American Cancer Society tracks cancer occurrence, including the number of deaths, cases, and how long people survive after diagnosis. ACS also tracks data regarding behaviors that influence the risk of developing cancer and the use of screening tests." This is a very useful site for cancer statistics.
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Geographic patterns and time Trends of Cancer Deaths in the US
A National Cancer Institute site with statistics on cancer incidence geographically and over time. A nice resource to track cancer impact in different areas of the country.
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More Than 650,000 Cancer Deaths Avoided
Article describing the gradual decline in cancer deaths since the early 1990s. While the declines are in the range of 1-2% per year, over decades they represent a significant reduction in cancer deaths.
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