published: Thursday, February 07, 2013
Fighting cancer every day
Monday was World Cancer Day.
Cancer, however, is such a widespread disease, with so many varieties posing such grave dangers to so many people, concern about it cannot be restricted to one day alone.
According to worldcancerday.org, cancer is responsible for more deaths worldwide than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Cancer causes one in eight deaths worldwide.
Of the 7.6 million global deaths from cancer in 2008, more than 55 percent occurred in less developed countries..
The news is not all bad.
Because of increased awareness, early testing and new treatments, the American Cancer Society reports a 20 perent decline in cancer mortality since 1991. This means approximately 1.2 million people were saved.
That work must go on.
For men, the three most common cancer sites are the lung, the colon, and the prostrate. These alone account for 40 percent of all cancer fatalities in men.
The three most common cancers among women occur in the breast, the colon and the cervix, accountiung for about 40 percent of all cancer deaths in women.
Globally, the United States is in the top 10 of countries suffering the highest cancer rates -- 300/100,000.
According to the National Cancer Institute, between 2005-2009, cancer death rates per 100,000 people were almost the same in the country as a whole and the state of Florida - 178 and 170 respectively.
In Highlands County the rate was lower, 155 per 100,000.
The good news is the National Cancer Institute ranks Highlands County 58 out of the state's 67 counties -- in this case the lower on the list the better -- and the county's cancer death rates are dropping.
Part of this progress against cancer is possible because citizens have joined together in Relays for Life to raise awareness, and money for research and patient support.
For example, the Tanglewood Residents' Cancer Benefit has raised close to $400,000 in the last 14 years.
For the rest of the winter and early spring keep a look out for funding raising events, and pass on a dollar or two.
Remember April is the month of local Relays for Life. Avon Park's is April 12; Sebring's April 20 and Lake Placid April 26. Plan to spend one of those days playing games, eating homemade food, and listening to music, all for a cause that touches just about every family in the country -- God forbid, even yours.
Fighting cancer is an everyday battle.
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