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Cancer rates down across America, new therapy offers hope

Source: WVLT
Source: WVLT(WVLT)
Published: Jan. 10, 2020 at 5:17 PM EST
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is out from the American Cancer Society and with it, a bit of good news. According to the new data, America saw its largest one-year drop in the cancer mortality rate from 2016 to 2017. Overall, the report said that the United States' cancer mortality rate has dropped 29 percent from 1991 to 2017. "More than 2.9 million deaths have been avoided since 1991," the report said.

The reason for the decline? Researchers said that death rates for the four most common types of cancers, lung, colorectal, breast and prostate, have dropped. The report also notes a steep decline in cancer rates for melanoma skin cancer, credited in part to immunotherapy drugs.

WVLT News spent some time with patients and medical professionals at the

to talk about the declining rates, new methods of treatments and to meet with a very special woman.

Debbie Hobbs began working with doctors and medical professionals at UT after she learned she had melanoma that had spread to one of her lymph nodes.

"I had it in one of my lymph nodes, so I had to do immunotherapy treatment," Hobbs told WVLT News reporter Anne Brock. Immunotherapy is a specialized technique that attacks cancer cells directly, according to Dr. John Bell, the director of UT's Cancer Institute.

"Immunotherapies get down at the molecular level where we have DNA abnormalities in our cancerous cells and they target those DNA abnormalities,and they don't affect our normal cells," Dr. Bell said. He also said that the reason for the declining rates could have multiple factors, such as a decline in smoking and better health screening.

The Hobbs family said they have been helped by their faith in God. Cobbs' daughter, Caydee Lawrence, said, "From the very beginning, God has just brought her so far."

Lawrence also pointed out how thankful they were for the treatment, "We have been so thankful for the treatment. She hasn't skipped a beat. She's been the same mother, the same grandmother."

While there will always be checkups, the Hobbs family said right now they're celebrating survival.

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