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Doctors urge prevention on World Cancer Day

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Doctors urge prevention on World Cancer Day
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World Cancer Day started as a way to raise awareness about the disease and ways to prevent it. Time Warner Cable News Reporter Sarah Blazonis tells us that a new report shows despite advances in treatment in knowledge, the number of cases continues to increase.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- They're tips we've heard for years: stop smoking, eat right, and get vaccinated. But doctors say these are some of the sticking points causing the number of cancer cases to continue to climb worldwide.

"Spread of tobacco products, the spread of a western diet with many more processed foods, and infection," said Dr. Leslie Kohman, medical director of Upstate Cancer Center.

And the outlook in this year's World Cancer Report from the World Health Organization is bleak. It shows that the number of new cancer cases is expected to jump to 22 million within two decades. Deaths are expected to reach 13 million annually during the same time.

"Prevention will do way more than treatment will ever do for cancer reduction," said Dr. Kohman.

Upstate Cancer Center will offer state of the art treatments when it opens this summer. Kohman says with half of all cases preventable, people can take a few simple steps to help ensure they don't become patients.

"It starts, of course, with tobacco control. If you smoke, stop. If you don't smoke, don't start," she said.

Kohman says the number of U.S. cancer deaths is slowly declining thanks in part to decreased smoking.

Other major risk factors include obesity and lack of physical activity.

Staying active was one of the prevention tools taken into account when building the new center.

"Even if you go to the gym for an hour a day, if you sit at your desk eight hours a day, that's an increased risk of cancer. That's why we built this three-story staircase right in the lobby," said Kohman.

People who take steps to prevent cancer may still feel the effects of the rising numbers. The WHO says cancer's financial toll can strain countries' medical systems and economies. It cost the U.S. $1.16 trillion to fight the disease in 2010.

The World Health Organization's report shows that more than 60 percent of the world's total cancer cases and 70 percent of its deaths occur in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. Lack of early detection and access to treatment are some of the major challenges in those areas.

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