The battle against cancer is far from over, as evidenced by the fact that it ranks as the second-leading cause of death in the U.S., trailing only heart disease. 591,699 Americans succumbed to cancer in 2014 according to CDC data, 23,000 less than fell victim to heart disease. However, there are 8 Encouraging Cancer Statistics You’ll Want To Know, some of which show that we may be turning the tide against the disease. Read on to find out what they are.
Growing Lifetime Risk of Cancer Has Silver Lining
It’s estimated that between 40% and 50% of people will now develop cancer in their lifetimes, up from about 33% in decades past. However, there’s an underlying reason behind this which is that we’re living longer than ever (which is a good thing!). As we age, our risk of developing cancer exponentially increases. Errors begin to accumulate in our genes over time, which can be exacerbated by some of the aforementioned cancer risk factors, and these errors can eventually lead to cells becoming cancerous. So while never developing cancer would obviously be ideal, there’s at least a positive reason behind why more of us will.
Many Cancer Deaths Are Preventable
This should perhaps be the most encouraging statistic of all, given that many incidences of cancer were possibly avoidable if healthier lifestyle choices had been made. However, as estimates place the percentage of avoidable cancer deaths at around 30-40%, it’s perhaps too low to justify the top spot, as a person could ultimately lead a very healthy life and still be stricken with the disease. That said, even a 30% reduced risk of developing cancer should prompt everyone to eat better, exercise more, drink less alcohol, protect their skin from the sun, and stop smoking.
Cigarette Smoking Continues to Decline
16.8% of U.S adults were classified as smokers in 2014, down from 20.9% in 2005. That means that in just nine years, there were well over 10 million Americans that gave up smoking. As cigarette smoking is by far the leading cause of preventable death, including death by cancer, this is a very positive trend. The smoking rate is also lower in the 18-24 age group (16.7%) than it is in the 25-44 (20%) and 45-64 (18%) age groups, which shows that smoking among young people is also on the decline.