Cancer… how much do you really know?

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t know someone affected by cancer. I couldn’t say this so confidently 3 years ago. 3 years ago, I didn’t think it would come near me. I didn’t think it would touch anyone important in my life. For some reason, I thought that my friends and family would be safe from it.

I know that science has made a lot of progress when it comes to research and even treatment options. I saw a lot of great new technology when my dad was going through his chemotherapy, radiation, and clinical trial. It was truly impressive to see it firsthand that the millions of dollars of donations going towards cancer research is turning into reality for some. Even though it wasn’t enough to save his life, I do appreciate the attempts that cancer centers are trying to make with all this new research and technology.

One of our closest friends lost his mom yesterday to ovarian cancer. It spread quickly to her brain in the past several months and there were no more options left for them. I can imagine what he’s going through and the pain from my experience less than a year ago is all coming back to me.

After doing the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure for breast cancer research and awareness a few days ago, I heard some really crazy facts and wanted to research a little more to see what other facts and statistics are out there that I’m not aware of. I know I’m probably driving myself insane by doing this research, but that won’t stop me. These are from, Facts & Figures 2010.

In the US, men have slightly less than a 1 in 2 lifetime risk of developing cancer; for women, the risk is a little more than 1 in 3.

Those numbers are frightening. Look around you. Look at how many people have the possiblity of being diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that approximately 11.4 million Americans with a history of cancer were alive in January 2006, either cancer free, with some evidence of cancer, or undergoing treatment.

About 1,529,560 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2010. Of those cases, the states of California, New York, Texas, and Florida each dominate the numbers by having over 100,000 cases within its respective state.

About 569,490 Americans are expected to die of cancer in 2010. That’s more than 1,500 people per day. Cancer accounts for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths.

Please click on each image below to see the full/larger version:

Now onto some good news:

Although survival statistics vary greatly by cancer type and stage at diagnosis, the 5-year relative survival rate for all cancers diagnosed between 1999 and 2005 is 68%, up from 50% in 1975-1977.

So please keep donating to science and research, keep volunteering for cancer organizations throughout the country, and follow the guidelines recommended by to reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight throughout life.
  2. Adopt a physically active lifestyle.
  3. Consume a healthy diet with an emphasis on plant sources.
  4. If you drink alcoholic beverages, limit consumption.

And I will add a #5 of my own:

5.  Quit smoking!!!!!

To those currently battling cancer, stay positive and keep fighting!


3 thoughts on “Cancer… how much do you really know?

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