According to an American Cancer Society report cancer rates for men declined 1.8 percent and for women by 1.6 percent between 2004 and 2008. Also cancer screening and treatment improvements have prevented one million cancer deaths since the early 1990s, says the document.
Routine examinations of the body can help prevent cancer death because early detection generally leads to better treatment outcomes, “Screening is checking your body for cancer before you have symptoms. Getting screening tests regularly may find breast, cervical, and colorectal (colon) cancers early, when treatment is likely to work best.” (Source: CDC)
While the total cancer rate has declined, a number of particular cancers are increasing. They are cancers of the pancreas, liver, thyroid, kidney, esophagus and melanoma. Also some throat cancers associated with human papillomavirus or HPV infection have increased.
This year researchers from Ohio State University found a connection between oral sex, HPV and throat cancer, “Throat cancers caused by a virus transmitted during oral sex have increased significantly in the United States in recent years,” researchers reported. (Source: NYTimes.com)
The good news is as people educate themselves more and more about the importance of regular screenings, cancer can be detected earlier on and treated more successfully. Also lifestyle choices can be adjusted to reduce oral cancer risk, such as reducing promiscuous behavior, and reducing or eliminating tobacco and alcohol consumption. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation oral cancer is typically detected when it is already in a somewhat advanced stage, but catching earlier will decrease its severity.
Oral cancer can go unnoticed by an individual because initially it can be painless, or resemble benign conditions such as a canker sore. The Oral Cancer Foundation’s main guideline on oral cancer detection is, ” it is important to have any sore or discolored area of your mouth, which does not heal within 14 days, looked at by a professional.” (Source: Oral Cancer Foundation)
Melanoma is also increasing, but can be prevented by taking simple steps to protect the skin from overexposure to sunlight.
Image Credit: Public Domain, National Cancer Institute