US Has Never Had More Cancer Survivors

Researchers count 18M
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2022 2:38 PM CDT
US Has Never Had More Cancer Survivors
This fluorescence-colored microscope image made available by the National Institutes of Health shows a culture of human breast cancer cells.   (Ewa Krawczyk/National Cancer Institute via AP)

(Newser) – A record 18 million people in the US can describe themselves with two important words: "cancer survivor." That's up 1 million from last year, according to a study by the American Association for Cancer Research, per CNN. The story notes that only 3 million cancer survivors were counted in the US in 1971, and the figure is expected to reach 26 million by 2040. Earlier detection, declines in smoking, and continually improving treatments are credited in the report. Some details:

  • No. 2: Despite the progress, cancer is still the No. 2 cause of death in the US, with about 602,000 lives lost in 2020, reports CBS News.

  • On the decline: The report found that the overall cancer death rate has decreased 32% from 1991 to 2019, which the report says adds up to 3.5 million lives saved. This is taking into account cancer of all kinds.
  • Trouble areas: The numbers show that minority populations continue to have a disproportionate share of cases. And CBS notes that this extends beyond race: Gay men, for example, are 4% more likely to get cancer over their lifetime than heterosexual men. Also of note: People in rural areas are 34% more likely to die from lung cancer than those in urban areas.
  • Cost: The price of treatment remains formidable. In 2018, the cost for the 15 most common cancers was a collective $156 billion for privately insured patients under age 65, per Axios.
  • On the horizon: One reason the survivor trend is expected to keep improving is because of continuing advancements in treatment. The report notes that between August 2021 and August 2022, the FDA approved eight anticancer therapeutics and two diagnostic imaging agents, and expanded the use of 10 previously approved therapeutics to treat new cancer types.
(Read more cancer stories.)

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