Nationwide Decline in Colon Cancer Deaths, Except in One State

According to a report issued yesterday by the CDC, deaths from colon cancer are declining all over the nation, except in one state.

1st Published July 6, 2011

According to a report issued yesterday by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deaths from colon cancer are declining all over the nation, except in one state.

The CDC reported that there is existing evidence of a national decline in colon cancer deaths; in several states, such as Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, the decline is as significant as 5% and 6%. The only state that did not show a decline was Mississippi.

The director of the CDC, Thomas Frieden, attributes this decline to an increase of awareness concerning the importance of routine screenings, which can lead to early diagnosis. "The big picture is screenings are up, death rates are down, and even more progress is possible," said Frieden.

The study was based on telephone interviews and national databases. The researchers discovered that from the years 2003 to 2007, the colon and rectal cancer death rate in America fell from 19% to 17% for every 100,000 people; this figure shows 32,000 fewer deaths.

Nearly 2/3 of individuals aged fifty to seventy-five are getting tested and screened routinely for colon cancer.

There are several factors which could be to blame for Mississippi's lack of progress. Mississippi had a screening rate of roughly 58%, one of the nation's lowest screening rates. Also, according to previous studies, African Americans are more likely to die of colon cancer at higher rates than any other racial group, and blacks account for 37% of Mississippi's residents.

According to the CDC, colon cancer is the second leading cancer cause of death in non-smokers in the United States. Despite the fact that death rates have been going down for both men and women since the 1980s, the American Cancer Society estimated that over 49,000 Americans will die of colon cancer this year.

In 2007, 142,672 people in the United States were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, of which 53,219 people died from.

The CDC stressed the importance of a healthy diet and exercise to potentially curve the risk of colon cancer, as well as routine screening and testing. "If you find out early enough, you can prevent cancer," stated Frieden.