Robbie Ward, The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Cancer rates have increased in Northeastern Pennsylvania during the most recent 10-year period studied by a nonprofit organization, especially among women.In a report recently released by the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute evaluating regional cancer trends from 2000 to 2009, data shows a combined increase in the 23 cancer categories examined. For Northeastern Pennsylvania, the average change in incidence rate for cancer types studied increased by a little more than three people per 100,00 each year. For women, the number increased by more than four people, with bronchus, lung and thyroid cancers representing the biggest jump. For men, the increase has been less than a single person. Dr. Samuel Lesko, director of research and medical director at NRCI, said the best advice he has for people looking for an immediate way to reduce their chances of getting cancer is to refrain from smoking and encourage young people to do the same. "That's the single best thing we can do to address health," Lesko said. He attributes the increase of bronchus and lung cancer in woman to smoking, although not everyone who develops those types of cancers smoke. Researchers still haven't determined why rates have increased for thyroid cancer. Debate in the medical community continues on explaining nationwide increases in thyroid cancer, with some suggesting better technology has helped identify more cases. For local men and women, significant incidences of cancer increased with melanoma and oral and pharynx cancer, while rates dropped for colon and rectal cancer. Women also had a drop in ovary cancer. Even with the drops in certain types of cancers, Northeastern Pennsylvania still has significantly higher cancer rates compared to national figures. Along with decreasing use of tobacco, Lesko also suggested people receive screenings at the appropriate time for colon and rectum, cervical, breast, ovarian and other cancers. He also said people should quickly report anything suspicious symptoms to their physicians. The periodic cancer study compiled by NRCI's epidemiology researcher department using data by the organization's regional cancer registry and Bureau of Health Statistics research from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Health. A community-based nonprofit organization, NRCI focuses on research and community and patient services. firstname.lastname@example.org (c)2012 The Citizens' Voice (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) Visit The Citizens' Voice (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) at citizensvoice.com Distributed by MCT Information Services