Major Cancer Death Rates Are Lower; Throat and Anal Cancer Incidence on the Rise

Obesity, Growing Age of Population and HPV Factors in Newly Diagnosed Cancers

Yahoo Contributor Network

While the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer reveals positive news in the fact that the overall death rate from cancer has decreased during the period of 2000 through 2009, the statistics mean little to anyone has lost a loved one to the disease. Physicians and researchers have noted an increase in cancers of the throat and anus related to human papillomavirus, HPV. An additional concern about future cancer diagnoses is related to the high rate of obesity in the United States and the aging of its population, both factors in the development of cancer.

The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer

The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer is a collaborative effort of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Each collaborating body provides its data on both cancer incidence and deaths resulting from the disease, then examines the full body of statistics to determine changing trends.

As TribLive.com reported, this annual report demonstrated that the overall cancer death rate for men dropped 1.8 percent; the overall cancer death rate for women dropped 1.4 percent.

Disturbing New Trend: Increase in Esophageal and Anal Cancers Cause by HPV, Obesity

Last year's Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer noted an increase in the incidence of cancers of the esophagus, kidney, uterus and pancreas caused by obesity; that trend was again noted in the newest report on the status of cancer.

The most recent report featured a special focus on HPV and cancer. More than 40 types of HPV have been identified, although not all of the types may lead to cancer. The sexually transmitted illness can be transmitted orally, vaginally and anally, with many people who have one or more forms of HPV having no symptoms. Increases in the rate of throat cancer caused by HPV among white men and women, while anal cancer rates caused by HPV are increasing in white and black men and women.

CBSNews.com reported that Dr. Michael B. Prsytowsky, chairman of the department of pathology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y., explained that although smoking and alcohol use are also known to cause cancers in the area of the base of the tongue, 70 percent of the cancers diagnosed in the area are caused by HPV.

Bottom Line

Prsytowsky stressed the importance of the use of the HPV vaccine in both boys and girls before they become sexually active and that it is crucial for the adolescents to receive all three of the recommended doses of the vaccination to decrease the likelihood of these teens and pre-teens developing cancer later in life caused by HPV.

Baby boomers and their seniors, unable to do anything about the fact they are aging, a risk factor for cancer, can take charge of other health factors such as lowering their rates of being overweight or obese, eating recommended amounts of fiber daily and getting regular physical activity.

As a nation, we cannot count on medicine alone for our good health, or for curing an illness that might have been prevented through accepted methods.

View Comments (12)