Number of Cancer Survivors Will Grow to 18 Million by 2022
There will be nearly 18 million cancer survivors in the United States by 2022, according to a report by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute: Cancer Treatment & Survivorship Facts & Figures and an accompanying journal article in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
Although cancer incidence rates are decreasing, the number of survivors is growing—both as a result of the aging and growth of the population and the improvement in cancer survival rates.
The reports were released to coincide with the Survivorship Conference 2012 and serve to shine the light on the unique needs and challenges of survivors and to raise awareness for the need of resources and services for this population.
The report used data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database to develop new estimates of cancer survival rates in the U.S. Currently, there are approximately 13.7 million survivors in the U.S. but that number is expected to grow tremendously in the next decade. The researchers used the data to determine median age and stage at diagnosis and survival as well as to describe patterns of treatment.
They found that the three most common cancers among male survivors are prostate cancer (43%), colorectal cancer (9%), and melanoma (7%). In women, the three most common cancers among survivors are breast cancer (41%), uterine cancer (8%), and colorectal cancer (8%). The data indicates that by the year 2022, those proportions will remain largely unchanged.
The majority of these cancer survivors (64%) were diagnosed five or more years ago and 15% were diagnosed 20 or more years ago. The median age at time of cancer diagnosis is 66. Nearly half (45%) of survivors are aged 70 or older; 5% are under the age of 40.
In terms of childhood cancer—there are 58,510 childhood cancer survivors living in the U.S. in 2012 and estimates indicate that an additional 12,060 children will be diagnosed this year.
The report includes information about treatment and survival for several selected cancers and the impact of cancer treatment. It provides data regarding long-term survivorship and the benefits of healthy lifestyle choices. It also provides resources for cancer survivors. The goal of the report is to improve awareness of the special needs of survivorship—both for survivors and caregivers—and to provide resources for this population.
 American Cancer Society. Cancer Treatment and Survivorship Facts & Figures 2012-2013. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2012. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/Research/CancerFactsFigures/CancerTreatmentSurvivorshipFactsFigures/index
 Siegel R, DeSantis C, Virgo K, et al. Cancer Treatment and Survivorship Statistics, 2012. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. Published early online June 14, 2012. doi: 10.3322/caac.21149
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