Cancer in the headlines, Dec 11

December 11, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

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Good news and bad news on the cancer battle front.newspaper

Annual Report: Cancer Death Rate Down; Increase in Certain Cancer Types
Now, this is good tidings indeed for the holiday season. Cancer death rates in the US are down! This is according to the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2006, Featuring Colorectal Cancer Trends and Impact of Interventions (Risk Factors, Screening, and Treatment) to Reduce Future Rates, authored by researchers from the American Cancer Society (ACS), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR).  Not only are cancer mortality rates lower, the number of new cases is dropping as well. Some types of cancers, however, still present a major challenge.
According to Betsy Kohler, executive director of NAACCR:

The continued decline in incidence and death rates for all cancers combined is extremely encouraging, but progress has been more limited for certain types of cancer, including many cancers that are currently less amenable to screening, such as cancer of esophagus, liver and pancreas.”

Yet, the battle is far from over. According to NCI Director Dr. John E. Niederhuber:

“The continued decline in overall cancer rates documents the success we have had with our aggressive efforts to reduce risk in large populations, to provide for early detection, and to develop new therapies that have been successfully applied in this past decade…Yet we cannot be content with this steady reduction in incidence and mortality. We must, in fact, accelerate our efforts to get individualized diagnoses and treatments to all Americans and our belief is that our research efforts and our vision are moving us rapidly in that direction.”

32nd Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
The 2008 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) was held this week from 9 to 13 December. This is the first time the symposium is presented together by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center and the Baylor College of Medicine. More than 8,500 participants from 90 countries were present.

Stand Up To Cancer Funds High-risk/High-reward Cancer Research by 13 Young Scientists
 Another good news, this time for young scientists. The advocacy group Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) is awarding $9.68 million worth of grants to 13 young scientists involved in “high-risk/high-reward cancer research.” The research grants are meant to be highly innovative, to encourage the bright researchers “to step outside their comfort zones and strive to make big differences with bold initiatives.” The complete list of awardees can be found here.

 A Broken Promise to Our Children: The 1998 State Tobacco Settlement Eleven Years Later
However, it’s not all good news all the way. American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown laments some states’ decision to cut down on funding for tobacco prevention programs as shown the State Tobacco Spending Report. Dr. Brown calls it “a broken promise to our children.” The State Tobacco Settlement of 1998 provides that states should fund “comprehensive programs to save lives and keep children and adults from smoking.” Most of the funds come from tobacco-generated revenues such as tobacco taxes. Yet, the majority of the states do not meet the levels set by the CDC and some have even cut back on funding. Brown concludes:

“The battle against tobacco must be fought on several fronts. Although we’re making progress with smoke-free workplace laws, higher tobacco excise taxes and enactment of federal legislation to regulate the tobacco industry, we must do more to give smokers the tools and resources they need to kick this deadly habit. State lawmakers have more than enough resources to make a huge difference in their communities. Now they must back their promises with real and immediate results.”

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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