The American Cancer Society just released the 2015 Cancer Facts & Figures publication, produced annually since 1952. This report provides the most current information about cancer, including the projected numbers of new cancer cases and deaths for the publication year.
The report estimates that nearly 14.5 million Americans have received a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. This year, over 1.6 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed, a number that does not even include the two most common skin cancers– basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. With almost 600,000 people dying of cancer in 2015, cancer will be the 2nd most common cause of death in the United States.
According to the report, a substantial proportion of cancers could be prevented by behavioral changes. For example, in 2015, almost 1/3 of the estimated 600,000 cancer deaths in the US will be caused by tobacco smoking. All cancers caused by tobacco use and heavy alcohol consumption could be prevented completely. In addition, the report also states that 1/3 of all cancers can be linked to obesity, poor nutrition, and lack of exercise.
Other specific actions may be taken to avoid certain types of cancer. Many cancers of the oral cavity, cervix, liver and stomach could be avoided by preventing infections such as the human papillomavirus (HPV) and the hepatitis B and C viruses, either through behavioral changes or vaccination or by treating the infection. Also, many of the more than 3 million skin cancer cases diagnosed annually could be prevented by protecting skin from excessive sun exposure and avoiding indoor tanning.
Cancer screening is the most valuable tool to find cancer at its earliest stage. The report recommends screening for breast, cervix, skin, colon, rectum, and lung. When cancer is found early, treatment is less extensive and survival rates go up.
To read more of this publication, please visit www.cancer.org.