Science World-Cancer-Day

Published on March 28th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson


With What We Know Now U.S. Cancer Rates Could Be Cut In Half

Cancer is an indiscriminate disease that pays no attention to age, sex, or economic status and in the U.S. it is responsible for more than a half a million deaths each year. It is a number that while we are glad isn’t any higher researchers believe that we could be saving more lives, even without any break through drugs.

In a new article in Science Translational Medicine researchers report that based on all the scientific discoveries made so far we could save more than 280,000 lives by preventing the disease in the first place. This fact isn’t anything new the researchers point out but it is the quibbling over the details of how many cases of each form are dues to preventable risk factors.

“We actually have an enormous amount of data about the causes and preventability of cancer,” Graham Colditz, a professor at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and co-author of the new study, said in a prepared statement. “It’s time we made an investment in implementing what we know.”

via Scientific American

Some of the things we already know that will help prevent cancer are things like

  • more exercise and less alcohol can lower the risk of breast cancer
  • quitting smoking reduces the risk of lung cancer
  • vaccines for HPV and hepatitis can reduce liver and cervical cancer
  • aspirin can reduce the overall cancer death by some 20%

Researchers note though that getting these intervention methods to the right people, and getting them to actually use them, is easier said than done.



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About the Author

Steven has been around the tech world long enough to see most of the stuff we think of cool happen before which leads to a certain bit of cynicism that has contributed to him being known as the cranky old fart of the Internet. Besides sharing some of the goodness that he finds with you here at 42x you can also find him curating some digital goodness at Winextra (tech type stuff) and Rotten Gumdrops (for your daily dose of WTF).

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