EYE ON HEALTH: Cancer death rates drop - WSMV Channel 4

EYE ON HEALTH: Cancer death rates drop

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Ellen Rogers' life was turned upside down back in 2010.

Ellen Rogers says "I was scared, very scared at first."   

Ellen was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Ellen Rogers says "I think  your initial reaction is I don't want to die then my fighting spirit came in."

Not only did she not die, but Ellen is doing very well, she said she is now cancer free, and she's not alone.   She's part of a growing trend

Recent statistics show that cancer death rates have dropped twenty percent in the past two decades.

We spoke with Oncologist Dr. Stephen Golder at the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center. He says advances in technology have made a big difference.

Dr. Stephen Golder, Oncologist says "We tried 30 years ago to target placement of radiation, but we've gotten so much better at it, then we've had significant advances in surgical procedures."

Ellen Rogers says "it's really cool the way they can make it exact where they can have precise areas were they can just radiate that."

But Dr. Golder says this has been one of the biggest factors.

Dr. Stephen Golder says "But another big piece is no smoking, can I say that again, no smoking, no smoking."

This has led to a big drop, lung cancer rates have plunged 50 percent for black males, because they are no longer smoking at the same rate, but the same can't be said for women and young people.  

And if that doesn't change, Dr. Golder says some of those gains will be erased.

Dr. Stephen Golder says "We need to keep working on this."

And that means not just relying on technology, but taking more personal responsibility.

Dr. Stephen Golder says "The other thing is healthy diet, good lifestyle, exercise."

Ellen is doing her part, and she hopes more cancer patients will have the same outcome as she has ..

Ellen Rogers says "I would love to see someday where they could say here take this cancer and be gone."

Not yet, but hopefully we're getting there.   

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