The biggest decline in annual cancer deaths in the United States was recently reported in the January/February edition of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. Just over 3,000 fewer Americans died due to cancer in 2004 than in 2003 (the most recent years for which national mortality data is available).
Researchers report that cancer prevention, early detection and treatment likely explain the drop in numbers. Still, cancer continues to be the number two cause of death overall and the number one cause of death in persons under age 85. Therefore, the battle continues. The American Cancer Society estimates 1,437,180 new cases of cancer in the United States for 2008.
Tobacco use accounts for approximately 80% of lung cancer occurrences. Besides being a risk factor for lung and other cancers, such as cancer of the mouth, larynx, esophagus, bladder, kidney, pancreas, cervix, stomach and some leukemias; it also causes other smoking-related illnesses such as heart disease, bronchitis, emphysema and stroke. Tobacco use also contributes to the severity of colds and pneumonia.
Overall, tobacco use in the United States kills more people than suicide, murders, fires, alcohol, AIDS, drugs and accidents COMBINED. It will claim over 400,000 American lives this year.
As a member of the Adventist Health System, FLORIDA HOSPITAL Fish Memorial is committed to the concept of promoting a healthy, healing environment – not only for the benefit of our patients and their families, but for our staff “family” as well.
With this commitment, FLORIDA HOSPITAL Fish Memorial has entered into a three-year partnership with the American Cancer Society. Several key initiatives have resulted from this, including:
- On November 15, 2007, the entire FLORIDA HOSPITAL Fish Memorial campus became smoke-free.
- Lunch and Learn lectures for the community will be held quarterly, with the aim of education about the four most common cancers: Colorectal, Prostate, Breast and Lung.
- Joint promotion of the local American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life being held in Deltona on May 11, 2007 at the Dewey O. Booster Sports Complex.
In the effort by the hospital to aid our smoking staff in their effort to quit, staff may take advantage of offers of free or reduced-price nicotine patches and/or gum available through the hospital pharmacy. Smoking cessation classes and counseling with a registered pharmacist, and opportunities to enroll in the FLORIDA HOSPITAL Fish Memorial Wellness Program are also available.
About half of all smokers who continue to smoke will end up dying from a smoking-related illness.
In keeping with these community outreach goals, FLORIDA HOSPITAL Fish Memorial is seeking Cancer Program accreditation by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer (ACoS). Data from the ACoS website indicates that 80% of patients with a diagnosis of cancer seek their care at an American College of Surgeons approved cancer program. The standards which FLORIDA HOSPITAL Fish Memorial will be required to continually demonstrate include measures beyond cancer care and patient outcome goals. The hospital will also be charged with providing evidence of efforts to decrease the incidence and mortality caused by cancer here in our community. This achievement would indicate a milestone in local healthcare, as FLORIDA HOSPITAL Fish Memorial strives to maintain a level of excellence found nowhere else in West Volusia.
All statistical data was found on the American Cancer Society website, www.cancer.org
- Heather M. Burner, C.T.R.
Cancer Registry Coordinator
Florida Hospital Fish Memorial