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National report evaluates Utah cancer incidence data

By Sun Advocate

Utah continues to boast one of the lowest cancer rates in the entire United States.
Utah’s overall cancer incidence rate for females ranks as the fourth lowest in the nation and the fifth lowest for males.
In addition, Utah has the lowest incidence rate in the United States for lung cancer in both males and females.
The findings are included in the American Cancer Society’s facts and figures 2002 report, released last week.
According to the data, the good news is that nationwide and in Utah, the five-year relative survival rate for all cancers combined is 62 percent for patients.
For all major cancers excluding one, Utah was ranked in sixth place and lower for incidence rates.
“In general, Utah is a healthy state,” pointed out Rose Defa, American Cancer Society state director. “Utah’s cancer rankings continue to prove what other studies have shown that Utah is one of the healthiest states in the nation.”
“However, 1,300 men will die from prostate cancer, 1,100 women will die from breast cancer and 700 Utahns will die from colon cancer in 2002,” indicated Defa. “We still have room for improvement.”
The report estimates that there will be 5,900 new cancers diagnosed in Utah in the coming year.
The one glaring negative statistic contained in the report is that Utah has the seventh highest rate of prostate cancer in the nation. And more men across the state will lose their lives to prostate cancer than women will to breast cancer in Utah.
“Men should know their individual prostate cancer risk factors, learn what’s known about diet and prostate cancer risk and consider screening for the disease at the appropriate age,” explained Dr. Durado Brooks,director of prostate and colorectal cancer control for the organization.
“There is hope. Our goal is to educate Utahns how to prevent cancer while we continue to search for a cancer cure,”‘ said Defa.
Thirty percent of all cancers are attributed to tobacco use, according to the statistics compiled by the national organization.
Scientific evidence suggests that approximately one-third of cancer deaths occurring in the U.S. annually are due to nutrition and physical activity factors, including obesity.
For the majority of Americans who do not use tobacco, dietary choices and physical activity are the most important modifiable determinants of cancer risk, according to the organization.
Respect for the sun and its UV rays would significantly cut the incidence of skin cancers. And colon cancer incidents and deaths are 90 percent preventable.
Early detection of the disease saves lives, pointed out the American Cancer Society report.
Data compiled in the report include:
•Colon cancer is 90 percent preventable.
•Changing lifestyles will significantly affect the incidence of the disease.
•30 percent of cancers are tobacco related
•Education about the preventing disease will make a significant difference.
•77 percent of all cancers arc diagnosed at ages 55 years and older.
“Our message is simple. One day, cancer will be eliminated. But in the meantime, the American Cancer Society will continue to preach our message. Get early screenings when available. Make healthy life-style choices,” concluded Defa.

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