BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The National Cancer Institute's annual report was released on Thursday. The study found overall cancer deaths decreased 2.2% per year among male and 1.7% per year among females.
Medical Director of Cancer Survivorship and Screening at Roswell Park Cancer Center, Tessa Flores, said Roswell Park is seeing the same trend.
“We are seeing a lot more stage 0 and stage 1 cancers,” Flores said. “We also have a very robust screening program here at Roswell.”
Flores said fewer people are dying from cancer because of an increase in screenings, more tools accessible to fight cancer, and more patients are being proactive.
“Basically, there’s a shift in medicine,” Flores said. “We’re seeing more prevention, which means more screenings. We’re seeing a lot more people being screened. With screening for cancer, we find the cancer earlier, and then there’s a higher chance of us curing it.”
Flores was George Grace’s primary care doctor years ago when she pushed him to get tested for lung cancer after he was smoking cigarettes for 50 years. Flores said he had no symptoms, but early detection can save lives.
“At that point, he was still smoking, so we talked about lung cancer screening,” Flores said. “When we did it, we found that he did have lung cancer."
“They shoot you with a photosynthesizing chemical that makes your whole body sensitive to bright light and cancer cells fatally sensitive,” Grace said.
It worked. Early detection saved his life. He’s now five years cancer free. Now that Grace is a survivor, he’s once again one of Flores’ patients in her Survivorship Program.
“It comes full circle that I screened him for lung cancer,” Grace said. “He got treated for lung cancer and is a cancer survivor and now gets to see me again. It’s sort of perfect.”