Number of Cancer Survivors in U.S. Reaches 11.7 Million

The number increased from 9.8 million in 2001 to almost 12 million in 2007

THURSDAY, March 10 (HealthDay News) -- The number of cancer survivors in the United States had increased to nearly 12 million by 2007, according to a report in the March 11 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC and the National Cancer Institute evaluated cancer incidence and follow-up information from nine Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results programs to estimate the number of individuals in the United States ever diagnosed with cancer who were alive on Jan. 1, 2007.

The data revealed that the number of cancer survivors increased from 9.8 million in 2001 to 11.7 million -- or 3.9 percent of the U.S. population -- in 2007. Breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers accounted for 51 percent of diagnoses among survivors. The data also revealed that an estimated 64.8 percent of cancer survivors had lived at least five years after their diagnosis of cancer and 59.5 percent of survivors were aged 65 years or older as of Jan. 1, 2007. In addition, women made up 54.3 percent of cancer survivors, and 4.7 million of all survivors received their diagnosis 10 or more years earlier.

"Because many cancer survivors live long after diagnosis and the U.S. population is aging, the number of persons living with a history of cancer is expected to continue to increase," the authors write. "Public health and health care professionals should understand the potential long-term needs of cancer survivors, engage in health promotion (e.g., urging cancer screening and smoking cessation), and ensure coordination of follow-up care for this growing population."

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