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Texas: A Cancer-Plagued State



18 October 2022

This year cancer will claim the lives of 420,000 Americans, including 21,400 Texans.

Now the second leading cause of death after heart disease, cancer has been on a steady rise since 1900, when it was only the eighth. There are many theories about the reason for the increase of cancer in the twentieth century, including those that attribute it to genetic changes in the population and to overall increased life expectancy (which raises the chances of getting cancer in old age). But most cancer researchers agree that part of the increase in cancer is due to twentieth-century environmental changes, particularly industrialization and pollution. There is sharp disagreement, however, over how much of it can be blamed on these factors. Some studies estimate that as much as 70 to 90 per cent of today’s cancer cases are caused by sources in the environment ranging, from food and cigarette smoke to fumes from certain chemicals.

The chemical industry claims that only about 5 per cent of cancer cases are related to industrial chemicals. But a National Cancer Institute study of cancer deaths in the U.S. found that rates were significantly higher in those areas of the country that have concentrations of petrochemical plants and refineries.

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National Minority Quality Forum is a research and educational organization dedicated to ensuring that high-risk racial and ethnic populations and communities receive optimal health care. This nonprofit, nonpartisan organization integrates data and expertise in support of initiatives to eliminate health disparities.

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