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Consider joining Relay for Life

There are very few people who have not been impacted in some way by cancer. Either we know someone, are related to someone or been affected ourselves by the disease.

The latest numbers indicate we are winning the war against cancer. According to the latest statistics from the American Cancer Society, there’s been a 23 percent drop in cancer deaths since 1991 due to cancer prevention, early detection and treatment.

Every year, the ACS estimates new cancer cases and deaths in the U.S. for the current year and compiles the most recent data on cancer incidence, mortality and survival. The report estimates there will be 1,685,210 new cancer cases and 595,690 cancer deaths in the United States in 2016.

In addition, cancer is the leading cause of death among adults ages 40 to 79.

Other findings from the report:

• Among children and adolescents (aged birth-19 years), brain cancer has surpassed leukemia as the leading cause of cancer death, a result of more rapid therapeutic advances against leukemia.

• Thyroid cancer continues to be the most rapidly increasing, partially due to overdiagnosis because of the increased use of advanced imaging techniques.

• Colorectal cancer incidence and death rates declined by about 3 percent per year in both men and women from 2003 through 2012, with momentum gaining in the most recent years.

• In contrast to stable or declining trends for most cancers, incidence rates increased from 2003 to 2012 among both men and women for some leukemia subtypes and for cancers of the tongue, tonsil, small intestine, liver, pancreas, kidney, renal pelvis and thyroid.

• In addition, incidence rates increased in men for melanoma; myeloma; and cancers of the breast, testis and oropharynx. Among women, incidence rates increased for cancers of the anus, vulva and uterine corpus.

• Recent declines in incidence for melanoma and liver cancer among young adults may portend a reduction in the burden of these cancers in future generations.

• Death rates from cancer have dropped from a peak of 215.1 per 100,000 in 1991 to 166.4 in 2012. The decline is larger in men (28 percent since 1990) than in women (19 percent since 1991).

• Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women aged 20 to 59, while lung cancer is the cause of cancer death in women 60 and older. Among men, leukemia is the leading cause of cancer death for those aged 20 to 39, whereas lung cancer ranks first among men 40 and older.

I personally have lost dear friends and loved ones to cancer, as I’m sure many of you have as well. That’s why the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life is so close to my heart.

While living and working in Laurel for nearly a decade I saw firsthand and was part of one of the largest Relay for Life events in the state. Consistently, the folks in Jones County support the American Cancer Society in the fight against cancer through their participation in Relay for Life.

I decided to get fully involved with Relay for Life when a very close high school classmate died of cancer way too young, leaving behind a husband and two young boys. You see, that is what cancer does. It does not discriminate and its impact is far reaching. We’re all in this fight together but we all have to get involved.

Lafayette County’s Relay for Life team held its kickoff event this week and will soon announce its date and theme. I urge you to get involved with local Relay for Life, and if you don’t have a Relay for Life team, form one or donate monetarily to a team and support the American Cancer Society. The only way cancer will be defeated is if we join the fight.

Rob Sigler is managing editor of The Oxford EAGLE. Contact him at rob.sigler@oxfordeagle.com.