Cancer in the US has declined on more than one consecutive year according to federal officials. NPR news reporter John Hamilton stated that from 2003 ~ 2004 there was a 1% drop in the number of cancer caused deaths. This story touched close to home for me because two people I personally know battled cancer.
My lady’s mother’s husband (hereafter Mr. D) had cancer a few years back. He had cancer of the leg. They had two options in his case. They could amputate his leg or put a metal bone in and give him treatment. He chose to have the metal bone put into his leg. I occasionally took him into get treatment from Johns Hopkins’ University in Baltimore. I was amazed at the progressive expansive facilities and how the treatment process worked. Yet and still each year over 1,000,000 people get cancer. In addition, each year there are over 500,000 new cancer deaths.
They say that there are many people that survive cancer because they focus on the positive things while going through treatment. In Mr. D’s case, they were planning to get married and go on a cruise within a year or so. So, Mr. D has something to look forward to after treatment. The cruise tickets were purchase so it was on him to get better in time. He knew he would get through it and had a support system to help him get stronger and survive. It has been about 6 years since his treatment and he is still loving life and living the cancer free dream. They are happily married to this day and he had a wonderful time on the cruise.
Cancer Related Deaths
This brings me to the other cancer story that touched me personally. My church is a large spiritual community. We had many other former members go out and start their own churches but remain close to the home church. In the case of one pastor (hereafter pastor B), he and his wife remained very close to the church. They were so close to the church I didn’t know that he was no longer a member. To get to the point, Pastor B’s 6 year old daughter developed cancer. Everyone in the church was stunned. Pastor B and his wife just started their new ministry and now had to deal with cancer. I too have a child. It pained me to consider the concept of my little one having cancer.
They started a fund to help with the treatment of Pastor B’s daughter. They had Purple wrist bands that were purchase by anyone that wanted to contribute to the fund. These wristbands were quite similar to the Lance Armstrong “Livestrong” wrist bands. My son and I both got one and I still proudly wear mine to this day. The wristbands display the pastor’s daughter’s name along with Psalm 6. Everyone was optimistic that Pastor B’s daughter would survive cancer.
A few months ago, Pastor B’s daughter went in to get treatment. The pastor was later told that during a blood transfusion, his daughter might have been giving HIV infected blood. A few months later the entire congregation was informed that the little girl pasted. The entire congregation was once again stunned.
Cancer Treatment Improvements
While we have seen a drop in cancer related deaths, the story by John Hamilton also stated that Cancer Treatment Improvements are not the cause. As in the case of the two I knew they both received the best possible cancer treatment. It wasn’t the cancer treatments that made the difference. Cancer experts state that better & earlier detection along with lifestyle changes are the primary cause of Cancer deaths’ drop.
Two key groups that have seen the biggest decrease in cancer deaths are Colon Cancer and Smoking related lung cancer. Colon cancer is the one naturally occurring cancer that can be prevented. When people detect the Colon polyps early enough, they can prevent colon cancer from happening. As people stop or do not start smoking, it helps to prevent smoking related lung cancer. I know locally, many bars and restaurants are preventing people from smoking. People can smoke outside the facilities but that is it. The lifestyle changes have had the greatest impact on the Cancer related death’s total reduction.
As we progress, I hope & pray that we can find a cure for cancer. I wear my wristband as a daily reminder to be thankful for every day. I hope more people take action to help prevent cancer. I strive to keep people aware of what they can do to continue the cancer death decline.