The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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World, nation, state

June 2, 2014

Cancer survivors: 14.5 million strong... and growing

A new report identifies a group of Americans that is expected to grow by 30 percent over the next decade: cancer survivors.
As of Jan. 1, there were nearly 14.5 million people alive in the United States who had been diagnosed with some type of cancer. By 2024, that figure is projected to reach 18.9 million, according to a report released this week by the American Cancer Society.
The authors of the report - from the ACS and the National Cancer Institute - define a cancer “survivor” as anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer and is still alive. That includes patients who are undergoing treatment as well as those who have finished treatment and are considered cancer-free.
The growth in cancer survivors is not an indication that cancer rates are rising; in fact, the rates (adjusted for age) have actually declined over the past 10 years, the report notes. But since the U.S. population is both aging and growing, the total number of cancer patients is bound to increase.
In 2014, half of the cancer survivors were diagnosed before the age of 66 and half were diagnosed after, the report says. But the median age at diagnosis varies greatly depending on the type of cancer someone gets. For patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia, the median age is 14; for patients with testicular cancer, it’s 33; for those with bladder cancer, it’s 73.
Today, 64 percent of all cancer survivors have lived at least five years since their diagnosis. That includes the 15 percent of people who have lived at least 20 years since being told they have cancer. A great many of these survivors have gone on to live long lives, with 46 percent of them reaching their 70th birthday.
For men, the largest group of cancer survivors in 2014 is the 43 percent who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. They are followed by the 9 percent who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer; the 8 percent who were diagnosed with melanoma; and the 7 percent who were diagnosed with bladder cancer. Those four cancers will continue to account for the four largest groups of male cancer survivors in 2024, the report authors predict.

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World, nation, state
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