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South slow to lower lung cancer rates
Other opinions
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A report released recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had some encouraging numbers regarding instances of lung cancer nationally, though it appears our region of the country is lagging behind still.
Across the country from 2005-08, the rate of lung cancer in males dropped 3 percent. The rate of males being diagnosed with new instances of lung cancer dropped in 35 of the 44 states studied. That decline is more of the same for men, who have been seeing their rate of this disease drop for years.
For women, however, the news hasn’t been as good until recent years. Over the past two decades, lung cancer has overtaken breast cancer to become the No. 1 cancer killer of women, CDC officials say. That’s one reason why this report is encouraging. From ’06 to ’08, the lung cancer rates for women fell 2 percent, thanks largely to significant drops in six states — California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Texas and Florida.
The downside to this report — from our perspective, at least — is that most of the gains in reducing lung cancer rates are happening out West.
Medical professionals attribute about 90 percent of lung cancer cases to smoking, and nationally about one out of every five people smoke. Most of the states that fall below that mark tend to be in the West.
“The report finds that lung cancer rates are lower and declining faster in states with low smoking rates and high rates of smokers who have quit, especially in California and other Western states. Lung cancer rates are highest in Southern and Midwestern states with the highest rates of smoking,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
So, progress is being made against this killer, but there still is much work to do — especially in our neck of the woods.

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