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Cancer Cure Rates for Baby Boomer Men

May 20, 2011

Cancer is number 2 of the top ten killers for men. (1,3, and 4 were described in the last post). Cancer cure rates are unreliable, so I’m not going to give them, because a man (or anyone for that matter) can’t be matched to the numbers in a study report! It’s easier to do those kinds of numbers for heart disease, stroke, or injuries. With cancer, it’s more useful to look at the odds that you won’t survive.

Here they are, the four most common cancers in men, listed is in order of prevalence, with the chances of a man dying once it has developed:

  1. Lung:  91% death rate.
  2. Prostate: 17% death rate.
  3. Colon: 42% death rate
  4. Skin Melanoma: 17% death rate.

For more information from the American Cancer Society: GOODLINK

It’s worth putting off the Saturday night movie until Sunday to study this. Give it at least an hour. You’ll know where to go the next time you have a question! Here are a few highlights anyway:

Lung: almost 90% are smoking-related. The problem with this cancer is that it often doesn’t cause symptoms until it has become advanced. Chest x-rays aren’t reliable screening tests. Many people get diagnosed when they go in for some other reason. However CT scan technology is being shown to catch it earlier in high-risk people. There are over 400,000 survivors of lung cancer.

Prostate: 32,000 men died in 2010, however there are over 2 million with the diagnosis who are alive. About 1/3 of these are ages 40-65, the rest are mostly men over 65. Sudies claim up to a 90% cure rate. Age is the main risk, followed by race (higher in blacks). There are many other less common risk factors. Diet is important, and there is evidence that lycopenes and pomegranate juice help in prevention, but too many supplements may be counterproductive. Screening tests are helpful, and men over 40 need to get checkups.

Colon: risk factors you can control include smoking, heavy alcohol intake, and obesity. Diets high in red meat increase the risk, increased vegetables and fruits lower it, and high fiber doesn’t make a difference. Exercise may help lower the risk. Tests for blood in feces are useful, but may miss polyps which are found by colonoscopy and related imaging tests which should be done after 50.

Skin: These cancers are the most commonly diagnosed but have a high “cure rate” so fewer deaths. Common in male boomers, you need to minimize direct sunlight, especially in light-skinned people, wear protective clothing, hats, apply 30 SPF sun block to exposed areas every 2 hours. Get vitamin D from nutrients, avoid tanning booths, sunless tanning lotion is safe and lasts for a few days. Examine all of your skin surfaces monthly, bring growing bumps, changing moles/freckles, and sores that don’t heal to the doctor.

There are many other cancer killers to know about, for example bladder, liver, pancreas, and lymphoma. Here is once again, my top pick for one-source cancer education:

A last word – don’t ask doctors how long one with cancer can expect to live. Ask “what can be done to stay as healthy as possible?”

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