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Medical community pleased after cancer death report released

Drew Kelly

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New data about cancer deaths has many in the medical community smiling.

The American Cancer Society says cancer deaths dropped by a record 2.2% in 2017.

Jonathan Ticku, Oncologist at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, credits, in part, a wider range of treatment options.

“We went from using just chemotherapy alone, then we added targeted therapies,” Ticku said. “Now we’ve had the immunotherapy revolution. Patients are clearly doing better.”

The Cancer Society said a decrease in lung cancer is a major contributor to the overall death total, but Ticku also points to experimental drugs.

“A lot of credit goes to the researchers and the patients that are on the clinical trials,” Ticku said. “It has accelerated over the last 5-10 years, and we see changes on a monthly, if not weekly basis.”

While a drop in cancer deaths is a great sign, vigilance is needed.

Ticku said obesity, smoking and other unhealthy behaviors are counteracting the benefits done in clinics.