Coming Soon: 18 Million Cancer Survivors
Improved diagnostics and treatment, along with an aging population, will all play a role in propelling the number of US cancer survivors to an estimated 18 million in 2022, finds a new study from the National Cancer Institute researchers. Today, there are approximately 13.7 survivors living in the United States.
Study authors projected cancer survivorship using government data on incidence, survivorship and population projections.
The number of people living with a past cancer diagnosis has grown steadily since the early 1970s, when there were approximately 3 million. Both the number of new cancer cases and survivors is estimated to increase in the coming decade. Today, the two largest groups of survivors are those diagnosed with breast and prostate cancer: breast cancer and prostate cancer survivors each account for approximately 20 percent of all the survivors.
Although prevalence is expected to increase among most types of cancer, the largest group of survivors, the study notes, are those who are five or more years from diagnosis. The number of people living with cancer five or more years is expected to increase by about a third, to almost 12 million people.
As the number of survivors increases, it also means more people than ever will need long-term follow-up care. There will be an increase in healthcare costs and needs, the authors conclude, and coordinated research is needed to address their needs.
Source: de Moor JS, Mariotto AB, Parry C, Alfano CM, Padgett L, Kent EE, Forsythe L, Scoppa S, Hachey M, Rowland JH.Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. "Cancer Survivors in the United States: Prevalence across the Survivorship Trajectory and Implications for Care." 2013 Mar 27. [Epub ahead of print]