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Reports: Cancer is number one cause of death in Monroe County | Health

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Reports: Cancer is number one cause of death in Monroe County
Health, News

There is new information about cancer deaths in Monroe County. The most recent official numbers are from 2011 from the Monroe County Health Department.

More than 4,000 cancers are diagnosed each year and more than 1500 people in Monroe County die each year. Last year, it was the second leading cause of death behind heart disease, but that’s changing. According to reports, cancer has now overtaken heart disease as the number one cause of death in Monroe County.

Because of the observance of Good Friday, News10NBC was unable to talk with the county health department officially, but both the founder of Camp Good Days and Special Times and a pediatric oncologist at the Wilmot Cancer Center agree. They were told by the deputy county health director recently that cancer is now the leading cause of death here.

Gary Mervis, Camp Good Days Founder, said, “In Monroe County, cancer has overtaken heart disease as the leading cause of death.”

Mervis is behind an effort called Cancer Mission 2020, to spread the word, and to find a cure for cancer by the end of the decade.

Mervis said, “We want cancer on the front burner because by 2016, if we don't do something, many people believe cancer will be the number one cause of death the country.”

A report by the county health department says because our population is aging, and most cancers occur more often in older people, cancer rates are increasing. A pediatric oncologist at the Wilmot Cancer Center says this speaks to is the magnitude of the problem of cancer.

Dr. David Korones,  pediatric oncologist , Wilmot Cancer Center, said, “This is just a huge problem and while we've done a good job improving cure rates, and keeping people going longer, we clearly have a long way to go.”

Mervis said, “To lose 11,000 Americans a week to this disease, it is ridiculous because those people don't live in a vacuum. They are somebody's mother, father, brother, sister husband or wife, or like in my case, a child.”

Mervis lost his 12 -year-old daughter Teddy to brain cancer. She was the inspiration for Camp Good Days and Special Times.

Mervis said, “More could be done and should be done. And so we know that it's not going to come from the top down. It has to come from the bottom up. So we want to drive people to Cancer Mission 2020 and get people to sign that petition saying we want cancer on the front burner.”

Mobilizing the community to help spread the word; Mervis says Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks has asked him and others to put together a small committee to that end. They especially want to reach those with cancer in the City of Rochester to make them aware of the services and programs available to them.

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