PHOENIX – Experts offered lawmakers some grim statistics Wednesday on cancer in Arizona, including a forecast of 11,400 deaths this year and a 50 percent increase in cancer cases by 2050.
However, one figure offered some hope of improvement: More than half of cancer cases in Arizona could be prevented by lifestyle changes such as not smoking and exercising more.
“There is lots of low-hanging fruit that we could get into that is going help us prevent cancer developing in the later parts of our population’s lives,” said Dr. Peter Lance, deputy director of the University of Arizona’s Cancer Center-Phoenix.
Lance said that 33 percent of cancers can be attributed to smoking alone and 20 percent can be attributed to obesity.
Addressing the House Committee on Health, he and other experts presented the State of Cancer in Arizona 2014, covering diagnoses, treatment and perspectives on where research is headed.
Brian Hummell, state director of government relations for the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, said lung cancer kills the most Arizonans, with a forecast of 2,840 deaths in 2014, about 25 percent of the projected total. He said efforts to curb smoking among Arizonans can reduce that.
“Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death among Arizonans,” Hummell said.
Hummell and Lance acknowledged Arizona’s initiatives to reduce smoking among teens and young adults, including increased taxes, restrictions on smoking in public places and cessation programs.
But since 90 percent of lung cancers can be attributed to smoking tobacco, there’s still a long way to go, Lance said.
“There has been a steady decline in the young people that are getting to smoke, but by no means is it a finished or completed war,” he said.
Jessica McCaffrey, a senior representative for community engagement with the American Cancer Society, said defeating cancer is as much a matter of public policy as it is of scientific discovery.
“Every day elected officials like you make decisions that affect the lives of more than 11 million cancer survivors, their families, caregivers and even those at risk of developing cancer,” she said.
Dr. Keith Stewart, Mayo Clinic’s dean for research, highlighted the newest addition to its cancer treatment program: the proton beam gantry. Shaped like a wheel with the patient lying inside it, the device uses proton beams for cancer treatment to reduce the stress radiation has on organs and tissue. Mayo plans to have four of them installed by 2016.
“We think this will revolutionize care of pediatric cancers, rare cancers behind the eye, and even some of the more common cancers like prostate cancer will be safer and less toxic,” Stewart said.
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night
- New bone marrow procedure holds promise for healing pain
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- Diet, exercise and aspirin: 3 tools to fight colon cancer
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- A preseason guide to avoid holiday weight gain
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns