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Cancer Rates on the Decline (CHARM Magazine, September, 2017)

Posted Sep 29, 2017 by Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR

Cancer Rates on the Decline (CHARM Magazine, September, 2017)

Cancer treatment and screenings have made great strides over the past three decades causing a steady increase in cure rates in Angelina County and across the nation.  

The American Cancer Society’s latest annual statistics show that cancer death rates fell 25 percent from their peak in 1991. That decline translates to more than 2.1 million lives that have been saved.  

“When I began practicing radiation oncology in the early ’90s, cure rates for cancer were 50/50,” said Dr. Sidney C. Roberts, radiation oncologist and Medical Director of the Temple Cancer Center at CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial. “We are up to 70 percent overall now.” Roberts said the increase in cure rates is largely due to screening, early detection and improvements in cancer treatment. Survival rates are up because “physicians are doing a better job of catching it early,” Roberts said. 

According to the Cancer Statistics Center, the fiveyear survival rate for prostate cancer is 99 percent. Breast cancer is above 90 percent, and thyroid cancer is 98 percent. He commended Angelina County for its strides in breast cancer prevention. According to the health rankings, the county does a better job on mammography screening than the state’s average. A number of screenings — including mammograms, Pap smears, colonoscopy tests and PSA blood tests — can be arranged through your primary care physician’s office or at the hospital.  Women’s Special Services at CHI St. Luke’s Health offers free screenings for low-income or uninsured women.  

“The key to curing cancer is to catch it when it’s curable,” Roberts said. “Screening allows us to catch cancer at an earlier stage when it’s much more curable.”  

While County Health Rankings show a decline in lung cancer rates in Angelina County, Roberts said this particular condition continues to plague the area.  “Angelina County is one of the worst counties in Texas, ranking No. 228 out of 243, when it comes to lung cancer. The biggest factor is adult smoking. We still have a 20 percent adult smoking rate, compared to the 15 percent state average. Men and women who have a significant smoking history and haven’t quit in the last 15 years may be eligible for a low-dose CT scan of their chest to screen for lung cancer.”   Your primary care physician can contact the Temple Cancer Center at (936) 639-7466 to verify if you are eligible and to order the test. When treatment is necessary, the Temple Cancer Center at CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial plays a major role in taking care of patients closer to home. As a comprehensive program, the Cancer Center offers the latest in radiation therapy treatment.  

“Our linear accelerator allows us to very precisely treat cancer and lessens the side effects of treatments,” Roberts said. “Many patients drive 50 or 60 miles one way every day to come to the Temple Cancer Center for treatment. If we didn’t have this facility here, patients would be traveling even farther – to Houston, Shreveport or Tyler – for this type of treatment. Here at CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial, we have a philosophy to treat everybody, regardless of ability to pay. We won’t turn anyone away. We don’t want people to go without care because they think they can’t afford it.” 

For more information about Women’s Special Services, the Temple Cancer Center or if you have any other questions about the hospital and its services, call (936) 634-8111.

by Stephanie Stevens 

Tags: Lufkin Cancer

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Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR

Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR

Radiation Oncologist

Madelene Collier, RN, OCN

Madelene Collier, RN, OCN

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Jewel Randle, RT (R)(T)

Jewel Randle, RT (R)(T)

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Aimee Salas, RT (T)

Aimee Salas, RT (T)

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Josh Yarbrough, RT (R)(CT)(T)

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Julie McClain, RT (R)(T)

Julie McClain, RT (R)(T)

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Linda Miller, MS

Linda Miller, MS

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Evelyn Leach

Evelyn Leach

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