Cancer research continues to evolve, generating new fascinating discoveries daily. Over the past few decades, our understanding of cancer has improved significantly. Here, Austin, TX professor Kevin Dalby reveals five interesting facts about cancer you may not have heard of before.
In 2019 the five most common cancer types that killed women were lung & bronchus, breast, colon & rectum, pancreas, and ovary. For men, the most common cancers are lung & bronchus, prostate, colon & rectum, pancreas, and liver & intrahepatic bile duct.
Even though 67% of Americans diagnosed with cancer survive five or more years, cancer is the second leading cause of death globally. It accounted for 1 in 6 deaths worldwide and was responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018.
The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that there are more than 419,000 new skin cancer cases each year that are attributable to indoor tanning in the US alone. There are more skin cancer cases due to indoor tanning than lung cancer cases due to smoking.
Breast cancer is more likely to be diagnosed in the left breast than in the right at a rate of around 5%. When including all types of skin cancers and both sexes, more cancers occurred on the left than the right, with a stronger trend in men.
About one-third of cancer deaths are due to five preventable behavioral and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, physical inactivity, tobacco use, and alcohol use. Avoiding these risks is essential, especially for older adults, because 80% of all cancers in the United States are diagnosed in people 55 years of age or older.
While medical science is making great strides in cancer research, each individual can take an active role in reducing the risk of developing various types of cancers. The American Cancer Society recommends that everyone follow these five guidelines:
- Stay away from tobacco – There is no safe form of tobacco. Staying away from smoking is the best way to protect your health.
- Be safe in the sun – Ultraviolet (UV) radiation comes from the sun and human-made sources like tanning beds. Cover exposed skin while in sunlight, when possible, and wear sunblock when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
- Eat healthily and stay active – A balanced diet that includes fruit and vegetables, combined with regular exercise, will help protect against some cancers.
- Protect against HPV – Human Papillomavirus is a common virus that can cause six types of cancer. While there is no treatment for HPV, there is a vaccine that can prevent it.
- Find cancer early – Screening increases the chances of detecting certain cancers early when they are most likely curable.