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Great News in Cancer Research

October 19, 2017

What a Cancer Diagnosis Means in 2017

By: Sarah McCarren RN, MSN, CPNP

The advances in prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of cancer are staggering! If you are one of the 1,688,780 people in the United States diagnosed with cancer this year, you might want to know that there are more than 15,000,000 Americans living with cancer. What does that mean? You have a posse of support and a whole lot of hope!

Good News for Cancer Treatment

  • The obvious goal is to cure cancer but researchers and healthcare providers are also hard at work to improve tolerance and maintain your activities of daily living. Today's cancer treatment is kinder, gentler, and more effective than that of the previous decades. Standard cancer treatment involves a combination of surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. From proton therapy to immunotherapy, there are many exciting advances in each category of treatment. Meet with your healthcare provider to prepare a strategy of care.

Good News for Early Detection of Cancer

Early detection of cancer improves outcomes and often requires less invasive treatments. The American Cancer Society has screening recommendations on following cancers: breast, prostate, colorectal, endometrial, and lung (typically for smokers). Additionally, regular physical examination and clear descriptions of physical changes may prompt other early detection tests. The good news...the five-year survival rate for many of these cancers when they are diagnosed at a localized stage is 99-100%!

Good News for Cancer Prevention 

50% of cancer is preventable. Let me say that one more time, 50% of cancer is preventable! The good news...five lifestyle changes that make it possible to save over 300,000 people per year!

  • In the U.S. alone, 190,500 cancer deaths will occur in 2017 due to tobacco use. Saying good-bye to tobacco would cut cancer rates by approximately 30%!
Approximately 20% of cancer is caused by a combination of poor nutrition, excess body weight, excessive alcohol intake, and physical inactivity.
  • Consume a healthy diet including vegetables, fruits, and whole grain products. Limit processed and red meats.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. With few exceptions, body weight is a good indicator of what you need to do to balance caloric intake and exercise.
  • Engage in regular physical activity including a good sweat at least three days each week. Take steps instead of taking a seat.
  • Limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day; according to some recent research the amount of alcohol consumption that is considered acceptable is the same for both men and women. If you are interested in learning more about the affects of alcohol, you can watch The Truth About Alcohol found on Netflix and YouTube.


  • Some cancers are linked to viral infections. Vaccinations for HPV reduces the incidences of cervical, penile, anal, and throat cancer. Vaccination for Hepatitis B reduces the chances of liver cancer. Also, an exciting frontier involving mRNA cancer vaccines is gaining momentum quickly.

Cancer Posse

Fundraisers such as Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Susan G. Komen, Relay for Life, and Penn State's THON have millions of volunteer participants each year who raise money for the cure and inspire hope to many people engaged in the fight. The good news...there are nearly 15 million cancer survivors in the U.S. today!

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