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Lung, Prostate, Colon Cancer Decline Nationally, Rise in Texas

David Gill, M.D., and Patrick Zielie, M.D.
Bay Area Citizen, Bay Area
02/21/2012

The American Cancer Society recently released its 2012 Cancer Facts & Figures showing that new cases of the most common forms of cancer, including lung, colon and prostate, are decreasing across the United States. Cancer prevention and treatment is better today than at any time in history, so it makes sense that increased awareness of these common cancers, combined with early screening and detection, is leading to a decreased number of cases. 

While this is excellent news for the country as a whole, unfortunately we’re seeing a different story in Texas. These same common cancers are on the rise in the Lone Star state. While many factors likely contribute to this counter trend in Texas, some of the key reasons that raise risk for these cancer types are obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and smoking. 

So, Texas Oncology is issuing a challenge to every resident in the Greater Houston area and across Texas to take charge of your health and help combat lung, colon, and prostate cancers in our community. Making lifestyle choices that help prevent cancer, and getting regular screenings to detect cancer at its earliest stages, are the most important first steps to take.

Stop Smoking, Watch for Early Signs of Lung Cancer 

Lung cancer continues to be responsible for the most cancer-related deaths in Texas. In 2012, the American Cancer Society estimates that 9,780 Texans will die from lung cancer – which is 220 more than last year. In addition, the number of Texans diagnosed with lung cancer is expected to rise by 6 percent in 2012. According to the American Lung Association, tobacco smoke is by far the most important risk factor for developing lung cancer, so if you’re a Texan who smokes, quit today. Quitting smoking also reduces your risk for numerous other cancers as well as heart and lung disease. Resources are available to help you at websites like SmokeFree.gov

Reduce Risk of Colon Cancer through Better Diet, Exercise 

One hundred and 40 more people in Texas are expected to be diagnosed with colon cancer this year than in 2011. A high-fat diet, obesity and family history of the disease raise the likelihood of developing colon cancer, which is among the most difficult to detect because it lacks symptoms in early stages. However, there are five types of colon cancer screenings available, including a colonoscopy and fecal occult blood test. Texans should begin to take advantage of these important screening measures beginning at age 50, and then every 5-10 years after that, depending upon the chosen test.

Get Screened for Prostate Cancer 

Since 2004, prostate cancer incidence rates in the United States have decreased by 2.7 percent per year among men at least 65 years old and have remained stable among men younger than 65. However, in Texas the number of prostate cancer cases is expected to rise again in 2012. 

The survival rate for prostate cancer is much higher when detected early, so regular prostate cancer screenings for men after age 50 is highly encouraged. Consult your physician to determine an individualized schedule for prostate screenings – some men with risk factors may need to begin testing earlier. Prostate screenings should include the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal exam (DRE). 

For more information about lung, colon and prostate cancer prevention, visit www.TexasOncology.com

Editor’s note: Dr. David Gill is a medical oncologist at Texas Oncology-Deke Slayton Cancer Center, 501 Medical Center in Webster. Dr. Patrick Zielie is a urologist at Texas Urology Specialists-Tomball, 506 Graham Drive, Suite 150 in Tomball, and Texas Urology Specialists-The Woodlands, 17198 St Luke’s Way, Suite 410 in The Woodlands. Texas Oncology has practices throughout the Greater Houston area, including specialists in medical oncology, radiation oncology, gynecologic oncology, urology, and breast care. 

Texas Oncology-Houston Medical Center
Texas Oncology Services