published Friday, March 30th, 2012

Good news on 'scariest word'

What's the "scariest word" in our English language?

Heart disease is our biggest killer. Accidents and injuries and many common diseases are dreaded. But the second biggest killer disease has a name that is surely our most frightening word.

It's cancer.

But there's some good news!

The rate of new cancer cases in the United States is declining -- about one-half of one percent each year since 1999, according to an Associated Press story on a report released Wednesday.

The cancer death rate has dropped 1.5 percent a year for adults and 1.7 percent annually for children, the report found.

How come? Perhaps it's because of our awareness, better screening, earlier detection, better treatments -- and prevention, such as an increasing awareness of the desirability of avoiding the use of tobacco.

For whatever reasons, lung cancer deaths are down among men and women. In fact, lung cancer deaths among men have been dropping since the 1990s, The AP reported. And prostate cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer and other cancer rates -- and the rate of death from those and other cancers -- have continued to decline.

Since we want to avoid cancer if we can, surely we want to be as aware as possible of all methods of prevention, detection and available treatments.

That would result in good news for all Americans.

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