Cancer Overview

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  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, killing more than 553,000 Americans each year (CDC).
  • In 2004, cancer treatment cost more than $72 billion--just under 5 percent of spending for all medical treatment in the United States (National Cancer Institute).
  • Lifestyle factors such as cigarette smoking, lack of physical activity, poor nutrition and obesity contribute to about one-third of U.S. cancer deaths each year (American Cancer Society).
 
 
Each of us knows at least one person who is fighting the "War Against Cancer".  Today, more than 1.2 million Americans develop cancer each year. A new cancer is diagnosed every 30 seconds in the United States.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death after heart disease in the United States. It is the primary cause of death in women between the ages of 35 and 74. About 8,000 American children will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Cancer is the chief cause of death in children between the ages of 1 and 14.

In October 1971 the Army's Fort Detrick, Maryland, biological warfare facility was converted into a cancer research center.

After more than three decades, the "War on Cancer," declared by President Nixon in 1971 with the enactment of the National Cancer Act, is still going on in this country. The Question is: "Are we winning the war?"

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to the question. The good news is that since Nixon's initiative, there have been incredible advances in cancer detection, prevention, and treatment. Since the mid 1990s, the cancer death rate has been decreasing steadily. As one cancer experts puts it: "It's just amazing those that are making it and are living, whereas 10 years ago these same people would not have lived." A diagnosis of cancer once was the virtual equivalent of a death sentence. Today, nearly half of all cancer patients can expect to live for five or more years after the diagnosis of cancer.

Cancer researchers now believe that cancer can be triggered by many factors, such as our genetics, diet and occupation. We know that our chances of developing cancer can be significantly reduced if we choose to live a healthy lifestyle, not smoke and avoid certain foods.



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