Number of US Cancer Survivors Growing
Article date: March 10, 2011
There are now nearly 12 million cancer survivors in the United States, according to new statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The official figure in 2007 (the latest year available) was 11.7 million survivors, the agency reports. That compares to 9.8 million in 2001 and just 3 million in 1971.
The CDC defines a cancer survivor as anyone who has ever had cancer, from the time of diagnosis through the rest of their life.
Many Long-Term Survivors
About 7 million are 65 or older, and 4.7 million were diagnosed 10 or more years earlier, the report shows.
The report says earlier detection, better ways of diagnosing cancer, and more effective treatment and follow-up are some of the reasons for the increase in the number of cancer survivors over the years. It calls for more research to identify which survivors are at risk of their cancer returning, developing another type of cancer, or suffering from serious side effects like infertility or nerve damage.
The report appears in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. It is based on data from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER), which collects information on cancer cases throughout the US.
Healthy Behaviors Important for Survival and Risk
The CDC report also notes that healthy behaviors like quitting smoking, eating well, and exercising regularly can help reduce the risk of developing cancer. Those habits, along with getting the recommended early detection tests, can also raise the chances of surviving cancer and having a better quality of life with the disease, the authors write.
To learn more about living well during and after cancer treatment, check out the information and resources in the Survivorship section of cancer.org.
Reviewed by members of the ACS Medical Content and News Staff
Citation: “Cancer Survivors – United States, 2007.” Published in the March 11, 2011, issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (Vol. 60, No. 9).
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