Cancer survivors: More than 14.5 million in US

CHICAGO (AP) — It’s National Cancer Survivors Day, and chances are good that you know at least one of
them.
Cancer
survivors now number more than 14.5 million in the United States and
are expected to grow to 19 million over the next decade, a new report
finds. More cancers are cured, more people are living longer with the
disease and people are living longer in general, which boosts the number
of cases and survivors because the risk of developing cancer rises with
age.
"They’re living longer and we hope with better quality of
life," said Dr. Patricia Ganz of the University of California, Los
Angeles, whose research focuses on quality-of-life issues.
The
American Cancer Society’s report was released Sunday during the annual
meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the world’s
largest group of specialists who treat the disease.
Here are five things to know about cancer:
GENDER’S INFLUENCE
Survival
varies by gender and cancer type. For male survivors, the most common
cancers they faced were prostate, followed by colorectal and melanoma.
For female survivors, the most common types were breast cancer, followed
by uterine and colorectal.
DIAGNOSIS TIMING
Two-thirds of
today’s cancer survivors were diagnosed at least five years ago, and 15
percent were diagnosed 20 or more years ago.
LONG LIVES
About half of cancer survivors are 70 or older. Only 5 percent are under age 40.
LUNG CANCER SURVIVAL POOR
Lung
cancer is the most common malignancy in men and women, but it is so
deadly that it ranks No. 8 among survivors. That may change with
promising treatments on the horizon, said Gwen Darien, head of programs
and services for Cancer Support Community, a nationwide support group.
The
deadly skin cancer melanoma has seen a flurry of new treatments in
recent years, and "that gives us hope for some of the other cancers
where survival has not improved as much," she said.
THE ROAD AHEAD
Cancer
survivors are at greater risk of second cancers and need to be
monitored closely for the rest of their lives. Darien is an example —
she survived non-Hodgkins lymphoma 21 years ago and now is being treated
for breast cancer.
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