Cancer death rates have steadily declined for the past 20 years — equating to a 20 percent decrease in the overall risk of dying from cancer. This decrease is primarily due to three factors — prevention, improvements in early detection and the development of more effective treatment through research and the physicians and staff of the Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center is actively involved in all three areas.
Although the decrease in cancer death rates is reassuring, we still have a long way to go. Obesity and the use of tobacco products are major risk factors for cancer and, according to the CDC, West Virginia ranks highest in the nation for tobacco use and second highest for obesity. The staff of the ECCC is committed to lowering the cancer risk of Tri-State residents by promoting healthy lifestyle changes, such as exercise, a healthy diet and eliminating the use of tobacco products. The ECCC's Genetic Testing and Counseling Program offers breast cancer risk assessments as well as hereditary cancer risk assessments to help people understand and reduce their risk of developing cancer.
Whenever possible, the Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center implements new technology to advance early detection of cancer. All mammograms use 3D mammography, which creates a three-dimensional rendering of the breast that offers greater visibility of tissue details and results in greater accuracy. The ECCC Lung Cancer Program uses low-dose CT scans for detection, and lung cancer patients are being diagnosed earlier than just a few years ago, and at a percentage that meets or exceeds the national average.
The Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center hosts three programs dedicated to cancer research, with the goal of developing safer, more effective treatments. The Clinical Trials Program offers adult and pediatric patients advanced cancer care and treatment options. The Tissue Procurement Program is invaluable to research and allows patients to be active participants in the ongoing fight against cancer. The Marshall University Translational Genomic Research Institute offers the perfect environment for investigator-initiated trials designed and conducted by MU researchers and ECCC physicians.
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