Cancer patients got some good news this week from federal health authorities. The number of cancer survivors in the United States has almost quadrupled. In 1971, there were 3 million cancer survivors. By 2007, that number had grown to 11.7 million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health officials say the statistics reflect better detection, diagnosis methods and treatments, as well as an aging population. “As a result of advances in early detection and treatment, cancer has become a curable disease for some and a chronic illness for others; persons living with a history of cancer are now described as cancer survivors rather than cancer victims,” the CDC report concludes.
The most common types of cancer among survivors include breast, prostate and colorectal. Nearly 60 percent of cancer survivors were older than 65 years old. Fifty-four percent were women; 46 percent were men. Researchers said women are more likely to be survivors because breast and cervical cancers usually occur when they are young. These cancers can be detected early and treated successfully. Male cancer survivors often had prostate cancer which is usually diagnosed when they are older.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, March 11, 2011