Deaths from cancer rose for two decades in the United States prior to 1990, and have been declining since. While reductions in smoking, have helped, cancer is still the second leading cause of death in the U. S. While we were smoking less, the obesity crisis boosted other forms of cancer.
The president of Texas State University at San Marcos, Denise Trauth, declared April to be Cancer Awareness Month, and the university will sponsor a month-long observance. A university committee of faculty, staff, and students, as well as the San Marcos community, have planned for marrow donor registration, organ donor registration, a smoking cessation program, and presentations by prominent oncologists, cancer survivor panels, and remembrance for those killed by cancer.
The Community Cancer Health Fair, along with events in other states, will draw attention to April as Cancer Awareness Month. Events at Texas State University – San Marcos are free and open to the public, and include no-cost testing for several common forms of cancer. A workshop for those dealing with cancer is also scheduled.
Giving up Smoking Helps People with Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths, and smoking causes most lung cancer, according to the American Lung Association.
As reported in the British Medical Journal, researchers found that people who give up smoking after being diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer live longer than those who continue to smoke. The increased death risk of continuing to smoke appears to be due to the cancer spreading.
Research has repeatedly shown that as soon as a someone stops smoking, the body begins to repair the damage done by tobacco-smoke-related chemicals. Researchers at the University of Birmingham in England reviewed the results of ten studies that evaluated how smoking cessation after a diagnosis of lung cancer affected prognosis. The review included patients with both non-small-cell, and small-cell forms of lung cancer.
The five-year survival rate for those who quit smoking was 64 to 70 percent compared to only 29 to 33 percent for those who continued to smoke. Those who continued to smoke were also more likely to have to fight cancer more than once compared to those who stopped smoking.
Obesity Fuels More than Cancer in Texas
Being overweight or obese, physically inactive, and eating poor nutrition fuel diabetes as well as cancer. According to the vice president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, there are 7,000 children in Texas with type 2 diabetes.
The House Public Health committee is hearing from professionals about the fiscal impact that obesity is having on the state of Texas, and possible solutions.
Dr. Eduardo Sanchez told Congress in March that three steps (awareness, attitude, and activity) are needed to change the spiking obesity rate among Texan children. Sanchez says “The number of overweight and obese children has tripled in the last 30 years.” That means type 2 diabetes, which leads to a reduced life span, and years of medication.
The rapid rise in obesity is particularly threatening to children, youth, and populations that have low rates of Texas Health Insurance coverage, according to the Texas Health Institute and the Methodist Health Care Ministries.
In Texas, the problem is worse than in many other states. The Department of State Health Services found that nearly 66 percent of Texas adults were overweight or obese. Date from 2007 also shows that 32 percent of Texas high-school students were overweight of obese, and data from 2004 / 2005 shows that 42 percent of 4th graders, and 39 percent of 8th graders were similarly overweight or obese.
If this trends is not stopped, addressing weight-related heath problems will exceed $15.6 billion this year, and $39 billion by 2040, according to the Texas Interagency Obesity Council.
While the financial burden may be unsustainable, imagine the impact on quality of life for coming generations of children. This epidemic may mean that life expectancy of the current generation will be shorter than their parents’ life expectancy due to the many risk factors for chronic disease that are fueled by obesity. This epidemic is fuled by the prevalance of unhealthy food, and the lack of exercise – two things we can all change for ourselves, and our children.