Although cancer rates are decreasing, the number of Americans surviving the disease is increasing as a result of the nation's growing, and aging, population, according to a report released today from the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute.
The report (.pdf) estimates there are 13.7 million cancer survivors alive in the United States today, and that number will grow to almost 18 million by 2022. Reuters reports:
The report concluded that the expanding population of cancer survivors makes it increasingly important that the medical community understand their unique healthcare needs.
A survey presented last month showed that 94 percent of U.S. primary care doctors were unaware of the long-term side effects of some of the most commonly used chemotherapy drugs, highlighting the difficulties faced by patients after they beat the disease.
"Many survivors, even among those who are cancer free, must cope with the long-term effects of treatment, as well as psychological concerns such as fear of recurrence. As more people survive cancer, it is vital that health care providers are aware of the special needs of cancer patients and caregivers," said Elizabeth R. Ward, PhD, national vice president of Intramural Research and senior author of the latest report.
But it's not just cancer that more Americans are surviving. As reported in a recent issue of Stanford Medicine, we're a nation of survivors. In addition to those who have beat cancer, one in 45 adults has survived a stroke and every year hundreds of thousands survive a heart attack.
Previously: Examining exercise and cancer survivorship, Surviving is just half the battle: More on Stanford’s new survivorship clinic and Cancer’s next stage: A report from Stanford Medicine magazine
Photo by Jenny Mealing