The online news portal of TV5
WASHINGTON - The number of people in the United States who have survived cancer is set to reach nearly 18 million in the next decade, up from 13.7 million currently, said a US study out Thursday.
The number of survivors is growing because of better treatments and an aging and expanding population, even as the overall rate of cancer is falling, it said.
The research appears in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, and was compiled by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute.
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 US 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, national vice president of Intramural Research and senior author of the latest report.
Nearly half of US cancer survivors are 70 or older, and 64 percent were diagnosed five or more years ago, said the report.
The median, or midpoint age for patients at the time of diagnosis was 66.
Young cancer survivors were more rare -- only five percent of the US population that had beaten cancer was younger than 40.
"There are 58,510 survivors of childhood cancer living in the United States, and an additional 12,060 children will be diagnosed in 2012," said the study.
The most common cancers among women in 2012 were breast (41 percent), uterine (eight percent), and colorectal (eight percent).
Among men, the most common were are prostate cancer (43 percent), colorectal cancer (nine percent), and melanoma (seven percent).
In the United States, there will be an estimated 1.6 million new cases of cancer in 2012 and 577,000 deaths, according to projections by the American Cancer Society.