Doctor: Cancer death decrease 'not enough'

1:42 PM, Jan 10, 2013   |    comments
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(CBS News) A new government report shows cancer deaths fell in the U.S. by an average of 1.8 percent in men and 1.4 percent in women, crediting a decrease in smoking and an increase in early detection measures.

But Dr. David Agus, a professor of Medicine and Engineering at the University of Southern California, and the author of "The End of Illness," says the decline in cancer deaths is not nearly enough.

"Going down a percent and a half a year is not enough," Dr. Agus said Tuesday on "CBS This Morning." "We can prevent a lot of cancer and we're not doing it."

Agus explained that preventative measures -- namely, taking baby aspirin daily, eating "real food," and "moving during the day" -- are the key to more significantly reducing the cancer death rate.

"2,400 years ago, a wonder drug came out ... a baby aspirin a day will reduce the death rate of cancer by over a third," Agus said, before touching on the deadly outcome of a sedentary lifestyle.

"Sitting for five hours a day, even if you go to the gym for an hour [is] the equivalent of a smoking a pack a day," Agus claimed.

To further reduce the likelihood of developing cancer, Agus says there are preventative measures available but not being implemented.

"Most people in this country aren't doing what we need to do," Agus said, and explained that "only a third of girls in the U.S." get the human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccine at the right age, in all three doses. The HPV vaccine has been recognized as one of the most effective ways to prevent cervical cancer in women.

Agus added that liver cancer rates are also on the rise, despite the availability of a key preventative measure, the hepatitis vaccine.

"The way to treat cancer best is prevent it," Agus emphasized.

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