By Colleen Doyle, MS, RD
I wrote this blog in my head first, while I was on a walk. I was thinking about how fortunate I am to live in an area that I can walk – safely – for fitness and fun, for date nights and errands. But it wasn’t always that way.
My family and I used to live in a neighborhood where we could not walk to anything from our home. Besides having no stores, restaurants, schools, dry cleaners – you name it – within a reasonable walking distance, the road leading to our neighborhood was narrow, had no sidewalks, and people sped down that road with reckless abandon.
When we decided to move “in town,” we were ecstatic. I could walk or ride my bike to work, our kids could bike to school, and we could even walk to the gym to get our workouts in. We saved lots of money by not having to fill up our gas tanks so frequently. We felt less stress from not having to drive as often on traffic-packed highways and roads. Physical, financial and quality of life benefits — all from living in an area where we could get out and walk, safely, and for multiple purposes.
The Surgeon General’s Call to Action
All this has been on my mind because a new report is being released today: The Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Walking and Walkable Communities.… Continue reading →
By Carol DeSantis, MPH
In conjunction with Black History Month, the American Cancer Society has released Cancer Facts & Figures for African Americans, statistics published every 2 years. The 2013 issue reveals encouraging cancer trends for African Americans, as well as areas where significant disparities remain or are growing. Cancer disparities, or health inequity, are caused by a number of societal problems that result in greater suffering and more people dying from cancer.
Death rates drop, but inequity remains
The great news is that overall cancer death rates have steadily decreased for African American men and women. In fact, the most recent data show that death rates dropped faster for African American men than men in any other racial or ethnic group. That’s caused the disparity in cancer death rates between African American and white men to shrink considerably. Cancer death rates among African American women are declining at a similar rate as those of white women.
Despite these declines, however, death rates for all cancers combined remain 33% higher in black men and 16% higher in black women, compared to white men and women. African American men also have higher death rates for most of the major cancer sites (including lung, prostate, colon/rectum, liver, pancreas, and others).… Continue reading →
Hispanics have lower cancer screening rates; are diagnosed with cancer at later stages
By Rebecca Siegel, MPH
A new Cancer Facts & Figures for Hispanics/Latinos has been released in conjunction with National Hispanic Heritage Month. This publication is updated every 3 years and is a resource for current information about cancer among Hispanics. But you may be wondering why we produce a 35-page report devoted solely to cancer statistics for Hispanics.
For 60 years the American Cancer Society’s Research department has promoted cancer prevention and control by providing cancer data in a user-friendly format called Cancer Facts & Figures. Over the years, new Facts & Figures publications have been developed to highlight a particular cancer type or a specific population. In 2000, to answer the increasing demand for more in-depth information on cancer in the growing Hispanic community, the inaugural Cancer Facts & Figures for Hispanics/Latinos was introduced.
Hispanics Fastest-Growing Minority in US
Promoting cancer prevention and control in the Hispanic community is more important than ever because Hispanics are the largest and fastest growing minority population in the United States.… Continue reading →
By Kevin Stein, PhD
June is turning out to be big month for cancer survivors. Not only did we celebrate National Cancer Survivor Day on the 7th, but the Society is also co-hosting the 6th Biennial Cancer Survivorship Research Conference June 14 -16 in Arlington, VA.
And the American Cancer Society has just released the first-ever Cancer Treatment and Survivorship Facts & Figures, the newest addition to our Facts & Figures publications. The report highlights the continued increase in numbers of cancer survivors in the United States. Survivors are defined as any person with cancer from the time of diagnosis on.
We estimate that there are now 13.7 million Americans alive today who have a history of cancer, and that this number is expected to grow to nearly 18 million by 2022. [more]
Much of this growth is related to the increase in the US population, but also to the fact that the fastest-growing segment of the population is persons age 70 and older, the age group when most cancer diagnoses occur. Close to half of all cancer survivors are over the age of 70, while only 1 in 20 is less than 40 years old. Having said this, we do have to say that cancer can strike at any age.… Continue reading →
By Thomas J. Glynn, PhD
OK, admit it – you have no idea what current cigarette packs in the U.S. have to say about the dangers of tobacco use. I’ve been working in this field for nearly 30 years and I’m not really sure, either. And we’re not alone – very few of us remember that they say things like “Quitting Smoking Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Health” in very tiny letters and are virtually hidden on one side of the pack. [more]
But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just announced that the era of small, wordy, nearly invisible cigarette pack warnings is over. Beginning in September 2012, cigarette packs in the U.S. will be required to cover the top 50% of the front and back of every pack with graphic depictions of the consequences of tobacco use and warnings, in large letters, that say things such as “Cigarettes Cause Cancer” and “Smoking Can Kill You.”
You can go here to see all nine of the images and warnings that will be on the packs starting next year. But beware – tobacco industry opponents of the new warnings have called them things like “ghoulish,” “grisly,” and “ghastly,” and for once, they’re not entirely wrong.… Continue reading →
By Colleen Doyle, MS, RD
Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) unveiled a new graphic, a new icon designed to help make it easier for all of us to eat a healthier diet. Called “MyPlate,” this icon replaces the Food Guide Pyramid that, in one form or another, has been around since 1992. And it is a huge improvement. Especially because we eat off plates, not pyramids. [more]
MyPlate is designed to be an easy-to-understand tool to help consumers put into action the key recommendations of the 2010 Federal Dietary Guidelines. This tool, along with other resources developed in support of the Guidelines, collectively strive to help all of us do these things:
- Enjoy your food, but eat less
- Avoid oversized portions
- Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables
- Switch to fat-free or 1% milk
- Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread and frozen meals, and choose the foods with lower numbers
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
And why are these recommendations so important? Because right now, 63% of adults in this country are overweight, including 27% who are obese; 17% of children and adolescents are obese; and our poor diets (and physically inactive lifestyles) contribute to 4 out of the 7 leading causes of death in this country, including cancer.… Continue reading →
By Colleen Doyle, MS, RD
I admit it; I’m a java junkie. I LOVE my morning (and mid-morning) cups of coffee. So any study that looks at the potential health benefits of coffee gets my adrenaline pumping, whether I’m revved up on caffeine or not.
A study just published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute looked at whether or not coffee consumption was related to prostate cancer risk. The researchers were particularly interested in whether or not coffee consumption reduced the risk of advanced prostate cancer (by advanced, they mean that the cancer has spread beyond the prostate at the time of diagnosis). As a matter of fact, this study is the first of its kind looking specifically at the relationship between coffee consumption and advanced prostate cancer. While prostate cancer is one cancer I don’t need to personally worry about, on behalf of all the men in my life, I took a look. [more]
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health collected data on about 48,000 men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Every 4 years between 1986 and 2008, the men reported how much coffee they drank, and researchers determined the risk for prostate cancer related to the amount of coffee consumed.… Continue reading →
By Elizabeth Ward, PhD
Cancer patients may sometimes worry that treatment for their cancer might lead to another cancer down the road. Radiation therapy (radiotherapy) is of particular concern because radiation is known to cause cancer.
A recent study published in the Lancet Oncology journal found that cancer patients who were treated with radiotherapy were more likely to develop second cancers than patients with similar cancers who didn’t receive radiotherapy. Experts have known for many years that radiation therapy can increase cancer risk; however, this is the first study to compare the risk of second cancers among radiation-treated patients to a large group of similar patients who did not receive such treatment. The study estimated that about 8% of second cancers among patients who received radiation were due to the radiation, which translates to five excess cancers per 1,000 treated patients. This means that for every 1,000 patients who were treated with radiotherapy, 5 of them would have a second cancer caused by that radiation treatment.
Many types of cancer treatment can cause long-term effects, including second cancers. For example, some chemotherapy drugs increase the risk of developing leukemia, and young women who have high doses of radiation to the chest are at increased risk of developing breast cancer.
However, when cancer patients receive these treatments, their risk of serious illness and death from the cancer is much greater than the potential long term effects of the treatment. Declining cancer treatment because of fear of side effects could be very dangerous.… Continue reading →