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New Report Tracks Growing Population of Cancer Survivors in the US

Article date: June 14, 2012

By Stacy Simon

A first-ever report by the American Cancer Society – in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute – estimates there are 13.7 million cancer survivors alive in the US today, and that number will grow to almost 18 million by 2022. This includes everyone who’s ever had cancer, from the time of diagnosis for the rest of their life. The report, “Cancer Treatment & Survivorship Facts & Figures,” and an accompanying journal article in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians were released Thursday.


The report says even though the rates of new cancer cases are decreasing, the number of cancer survivors is growing. This is due in part to the aging and growth of the general population, as well as improved treatments that help people with cancer live longer. The report was created to help draw attention to the growing number of cancer survivors in the US who have specific medical, psychological, and social needs. It also aims to raise awareness of resources that can assist patients, caregivers, and health care providers in navigating treatment and recovery from cancer.

According to the report, the 3 most common cancers among male survivors are prostate cancer (43%), colon and rectal cancer (9%), and melanoma skin cancer (7%). The 3 most common cancers among female survivors are breast cancer (41%), uterine cancer (8%), and colon and rectal cancer (8%). Those percentages are expected to stay roughly the same through 2022.

The report also finds that 45% of cancer survivors, almost half, are 70 years old or older, and only 5% are younger than 40. The median age of patients at the time of cancer diagnosis is 66.

The report includes information on treatment, survival, and common concerns of survivors for 11 selected cancer types. For example, the section on childhood cancer estimates there are 58,510 survivors of childhood cancer living in the US, and 12,060 new cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2012. Although childhood cancer represents less than 1% of all new cancer diagnoses, it is the 2nd leading cause of death in children, after accidents.

In addition, the report includes sections on the effects of cancer and its treatment, palliative care, long term survivorship, and the benefits of healthy behaviors.

“With this effort, we review the critical issues related to cancer treatment and survivorship,” said Elizabeth R. Ward, Ph.D., national vice president of Intramural Research and senior author of the report. “Many survivors, even among those who are cancer free, must cope with the long-term effects of treatment, as well as psychological concerns such as fear of recurrence. As more people survive cancer, it is vital that health care providers are aware of the special needs of cancer patients and caregivers.”

For more information and resources for cancer survivors and caregivers, go to cancer.org/survivors.

Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff

ACS News Center stories are provided as a source of cancer-related news and are not intended to be used as press releases. For reprint requests, please contact permissionrequest@cancer.org.

Citation: Cancer Treatment and Survivorship Statistics, 2012. Published June 14 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. First author: Rebecca Siegel, MPH, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Ga.

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