Cancer Deaths Are Declining - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/18/07-Tyler

Cancer Deaths Are Declining

The fight against cancer is gaining ground. For the second year in a row, the number of cancer deaths has fallen, according to the American Cancer Society.  Experts say that decline is attributed to the decrease of smokers, early detection and more effective treatments.

"I think the numbers are looking better so we are now more convinced.  We were sceptic initially because the percentage was very low- but now it's going up, increasing, that is very exciting," says Dr. Svetislava Vukeja, Oncologist with Tyler Cancer Center.

Dr. Vukeja has been an oncologist for 21 years and says today patients have more options.

"You live with it.  You treat it clinically and treat it and when something stops working you treat it with something else," says Dr. Vukeja.

The new study says cancer deaths are down for the second year in breast cancer, prostate, lung cancer-  among men and the biggest decrease was in colorectal cancer deaths. That's because more Americans are getting colonoscopies which can find and remove polyps before they turn into cancer.

"I think since patients are educated and empowered they actually are seeking those things in there life and going to physicians soon," says Dr. Vukeja.

40 year old Misty Watson of Whitehouse is a cancer survivor. She found a lump in her breast 6 years ago and went to her doctor.

"I would have been dead if it wasn't diagnosed as early as it was because it had only been growing for about 6 weeks we think and it was already 3 centimeters," says Misty.

Misty underwent surgery and is now cancer free. She is now an oncology nurse and is thrilled to hear cancer deaths are decreasing.

"Each month we get closer and closer to finding cures and that's what we are aiming for," says Misty.

"I think we are just going in the upward direction. I think things are changing and I just see tremendous future for our patients," says Dr. Vukeja.

Dr. Vukeja says the number of cancer deaths that are not decreasing is female lung cancer patients. She says at this point those numbers are staying the same.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.  kdavis@kltv.com

 

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