Are we starting to get a leg up on cancer? Fuelled by health breakthroughs, ever-increasing knowledge, technology, and self-motivation, we could be seeing more cancer survivors than ever. The number of U.S. adults with a history of cancer is about 13.7 million. In 10 years, this number will reach nearly 18 million people.
This is according to a first-ever report by the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute. The report found that even though cancer incidence rates are decreasing, the number of cancer survivors is growing due to the aging and growth of the population, as well as improving cancer survival rates. So, on one hand, Americans are developing less cancer; on the other,
Americans are living longer when they have it.
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This news also leads to important considerations about what survivors need medically, psychologically, and socially. There are challenges and opportunities related to the news. Let’s jump into some fascinating nitty-gritty here.
The three most common cancers among males living with a history of cancer in 2012 are prostate cancer (43%), colorectal cancer (9%), and melanoma (7%). Among women in 2012 with a history of cancer, the three most common cancers are breast (41%), uterine (8%), and colorectal (8%) cancer. In 2022, those proportions are expected to be largely unchanged.
— 45% of cancer survivors are over 70, while five percent are younger than 40
— The average age of patients at the time of cancer diagnosis is 66
— There are 58,510 survivors of childhood cancer living in the U.S., with another 12,060 children diagnosed in 2012
— The majority of cancer survivors (64%) were diagnosed at least five years ago; about 15% were diagnosed 20 or more years ago
In all, it is a very positive report, because at base level, we are succumbing to cancer less than we used to. The trajectory is set and one decade soon maybe we’ll beat cancer once and for all.