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Cancer Unseats Heart Disease As The Leading Killer of Americans

A report issued about a year ago by the American Cancer Society found a staggering 156 Americans PER HOUR were diagnosed with cancer, and more than half-million people were predicted to die from it by the end of 2004. Unfortunately, those numbers appear to be at least on target -- if not a little low -- considering a new report issued yesterday by the society that found cancer had displaced heart disease as the leading killer of Americans under the age of 85.

And those numbers are particularly disturbing, considering cancer mortality rates have declined about 1 percent annually since 1999 (deaths from colon cancer and from lung cancer in men have also dropped sharply).

Although five-year surivival rates have risen over the past three decades from 50 to 75 percent, an estimated 1.37 MILLION NEW cancer cases and some 570,000 cancer DEATHS are expected this year. By the numbers:

  • Despite sharply declining smoking numbers, lung cancer is projected to claim about 163,000 lives this year, the leader among all cancers.
  • More than 230,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, killing some 30,000.
  • Close to the same number of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 women will die from it.

If you want to avoid becoming a statistic, here are some simple steps to optimize your health:

New York Times January 20, 2005

USA Today January 20, 2005

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