A new report on cancer in the US received moderate media coverage in online and print media, and was also reported on two network news broadcasts. Most sources touted the good news regarding declining death rates, but pointed out certain disparities and emphasized that the incidence of some cancers continues to rise. The CBS Evening News (3/28, story 3, 1:05, Pelley) reported that “a new report from the Centers for Disease Control” indicates that “the cancer death rate has dropped more than 1.5% each year for four years and it could fall even further.”
However, on NBC Nightly News (3/28, story 8, 1:20, Williams), NBC Chief Science Correspondent Robert Bazell pointed out that “the incidence of cancer continues to decline for men, but…for women it’s leveled off.” While “no one knows all of the reasons for the trends, but in this report, the government emphasized that obesity and lack of exercise are increasingly recognized as major risk factors for many kinds of cancer.” Meanwhile, according to Bazell, “a separate study out today concludes that fully half of all cancer deaths in the US could be prevented.”
The AP (3/29, Stobbe) reports, “While there’s a lot of good news in the report, the authors noted some looming concerns.” For instance, “skin cancer cases and deaths” have increased. Meanwhile, “two out of every three adults is overweight or obese, and that seems to be contributing to rising case rates for cancers of the esophagus, uterus, pancreas and kidney.”
According to the Wall Street Journal (3/29, A3, McKay, Subscription Publication) while many obesity-linked cancers are increasing, colorectal cancer rates dropped annually between 1999 and 2008, partially due to increased screening, said the CDC’s Marcus Plescia, the author of one of the studies.
USA Today (3/29, Lloyd) quotes Plescia as saying, “I don’t think Americans understand the association between cancer and obesity.” He adds that while people “know about the links (from obesity) to diabetes, heart disease and arthritis…many don’t know about this.” The new report was “published Wednesday in the journal Cancer.” Also covering the story are HealthDay (3/29, Reinberg), WebMD (3/29, Boyles), and Reuters (3/29, Beasley).
Study: Half Of Cancers Could Be Prevented If People Adopted Healthier Behaviors. AFP (3/29) reports, “Half of all cancers could be prevented if people just adopted healthier behaviors, US scientists argued” in Science Translational Medicine. The study suggested that “exercising, eating right and refraining from smoking are key ways to prevent up to half of the 577,000 deaths from cancer in the United States expected this year, a toll that is second only to heart disease.” AFP points out that “smoking is blamed for a third of all US cancer cases and being overweight leads to another 20 percent of the deadly burden that costs the United States some $226 billion per year in health care expenses and lost productivity.”