(NewsNation) — Cancer death rates are reportedly falling due to medical advancements and public awareness, a report published in the American Cancer Society Journal said.
The report found that overall cancer death rates decreased by 2.1% from 2015 to 2019. The number of people diagnosed remained the same but women and young adults aged 15 to 29 has increased.
Cardiologist Dr. Jayne Morgan, the executive director of Health and Community Education at Piedmont Healthcare Corporation, said that one of the things that they look at when talking about lung cancer is that fewer people are smoking, which she said they believe is translating to lower death rates and fewer diagnoses, specifically for lung cancer.
“People are not smoking, but there’s also better awareness, better therapies, better workup and better care and better treatments as well. And so lung cancer is one of those areas where we’ve made really great strides,” Morgan said.
Morgan said that even though it’s some positive news, they still want to have caution with the younger demographic where they do see cancer diagnoses and rates of cancer increasing.
“We think that that may be related to not only obesity, but the duration of time that you are obese, We used to see people putting on weight in their 40s and 50s. We see people now with obesity as young as childhood,” Morgan said. “And so when they reach 40 or 50, they’ve already had four to five decades of being overweight. And we think that is propelling many of these diagnoses because most of them are related to the digestive or GI tract.”
Morgan said that because of guidelines, they are able to catch cancers as part of their preventive care. But with the younger generation, she said that that care can slip through the cracks because they have not reached an age yet when cancer screenings and cancer guidelines begin.
“If they develop these cancers younger, they may actually be diagnosed later, because they are not getting the screening, because they’re not quite old enough yet. So that’s something we absolutely have to take a look at as well,” Morgan said.
Researchers found a correlation with obesity, diet, processed food and the duration of time that someone is in that overweight state that has that elevated BMI. Morgan said that as doctors, they want people to move away from sedentary lifestyles and to try to walk more.
“Absolutely, walking is very good. And to try to develop more of a plant-based diet,” Morgan said. “Decrease the amount of meat in your diet and then absolutely, if you’re smoking, quit smoking. If you’re not smoking, don’t start through living with the smoker. Try to encourage them to quit smoking as well.”
Morgan also recommends getting 5-8 hours of sleep each night and exercising regularly.