The number of cancer survivors currently in the United States is estimated at just under 14 million people. Expect to see that number continue to rise throughout the next decade.
The American Association for Cancer Research
released its second Annual Report on Cancer Survivorship in the United States
in advance of the AACR Annual Meeting 2013, and one of the major pieces of research in this report is the expected 31 percent increase
in cancer survivors by 2022.
“The increase in the number of survivors will be due primarily to an aging of the population. By 2020, we expect that two-thirds of cancer survivors are going to be age 65 or older,” Julia Rowland, PhD, Director of the Office of Cancer Survivorship at the National Cancer Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health, told the ASCO Post.
Another noteworthy item is how survivorship is not equal among different types of cancer:
In addition to providing estimates of future cancer survival trends, the report shows that survival is not uniform across cancer subtypes. Currently, women with breast cancer account for 22% of survivors, while men with prostate cancer make up 20%. People with lung cancer, the second most common cancer in terms of diagnosis, only represent 3% of survivors.
The data lays out a pretty clear need for an increase in the quality of lung cancer treatments, as well as the need for improved survivorship care.
“How to ensure that these patients lead not only long lives, but healthy and productive lives, will be a vital challenge to all of us,” said Dr. Rowland.
Read the full story here
There is more information available to cancer patients and survivors now than at any other point in history. That means there is more misinformation, myths, half-truths, and outright lies available, too.How is anyone supposed to know what information to take seriously, and what should be ignored?
The fine folks at Cancer.net
have set up a useful "Cancer Myths"
FAQ to help folks separate fact from fiction. In addition to checking with doctors/nurses you trust, this FAQ page contains a useful set of common-sense tactics to help guide you through the maze of cancer information available online.
Here are a few examples:
MYTH: If you are diagnosed with cancer, you will probably die.
Cancer is not a death sentence. Advances in cancer detection and treatment have increased survival rates for most common types of cancer. In fact, more than 60% of people with cancer survive five years or more after their initial diagnosis. Learn more about cancer survivorship.
MYTH: Drug companies, the government, and the medical establishment are hiding a cure for cancer.
The medical community is not withholding a miracle treatment. The fact is, there will not be a single cure for cancer. Hundreds of types of cancer exist, and they respond differently to various types of treatment. In the past five years, research has shown that even common cancers like breast cancer and lung cancer contain many more genetic changes than originally thought, which makes it even more challenging to come up with effective treatments. There is still much to learn, which is why clinical trials continue to be essential for making progress in preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer.
MYTH: Cancer treatment is usually worse than the disease.
Although cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy are known to cause side effects that can be unpleasant and sometimes serious, recent advances have resulted in many chemotherapy drugs and radiation treatments that are much better tolerated than in the past. As a result, symptoms like severe nausea and vomiting, hair loss, and tissue damage are much less common these days; however, managing side effects remains an important part of cancer care. This approach, called palliative or supportive care, can help a person at any stage of illness. In fact, people who receive both treatment for the cancer and treatment to ease side effects at the same time often have less severe symptoms, better quality of life, and report they are more satisfied with treatment. Learn more about palliative care.
Knowledge is power — especially in the fight against cancer.
Odds are, someone in your family history has been diagnosed with some form of cancer. In the American Cancer Society's most recent "Cancer Facts & Figures
," they cite that the NCI estimates that more than 12 million Americans with a history of cancer are still alive, while more than 577,000 Americans will likely die from the disease this year.
It's important to know if any of those people reside in your family tree, as it can go a long way toward helping you remain healthy.The latest issue of Cancer Today has an excellent story written by Mitzi Baker about just how crucial an detailed family history can be
when it comes to accurate diagnosis and potential life-saving treatments.Baker writes that, "
Only about 5 to 10 percent of all cancers are the result of inherited genetic mutations, and most cancers occur in people with little or no family history of the disease. But nearly one in four people are estimated to have a family history that suggests a predisposition to cancer," so while it isn't going to solve every cancer problem, a working knowledge of your family history can often save one's life.Baker tells the story of Sue Friedman, whose "
diagnosis of stage II breast cancer at age 34 was the result of a genetic mutation that was lurking in that branch of her family tree." Please be sure to read the entire story, as it also contains helpful links to help you start your own family history, as well as what to look for in terms of hereditary cancer symptoms.• The Family Cancer Tree (Cancer Today
, Summer 2012)• Cancer Facts & Figures 2012
At this point, we're all aware of just how nasty smoking is. The links to various types of cancer
have been proven. The health risks are well documented
. The smell is repulsive. Smoking is bad — for you, and everyone surrounding you.But those who continue to smoke may eventually go broke if they can't kick the habit.A pack of cigarettes costs, on average, $6 in the United States. It varies from state to state (New Yorkers can often pay more than $10 per pack, while smokers in Virginia pay around $4.60), but smokers all across America — especially younger ones — are thinking twice before lighting up.If you smoke a pack per day for an entire year, you need to set aside roughly $2,200 per year simply to purchase
cigarettes. That's a significant chunk of change, but that doesn't tell the entire story.
Soda consumption is a hot-button issue right now.
Between New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s controversial plan to ban “jumbo-sized” soda
and other high-calorie drinks (16 ounces being the cut-off point) and the increased push to raise the overall health consciousness in America, soda drinkers find themselves in the middle of a heated, at times contentious debate.
Last week, the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) got involved, sending a letter
to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to request a deep and thorough investigation of the negative health impacts of soda and other surgary drinks. The ACS is asking for a study similar to the Surgeon General’s landmark comprehensive report on the dangers of smoking in 1964.
This begs the question: Will cans and bottles of soda eventually be required to carry a Surgeon General’s warning?
Lung cancer deaths have plummeted across the United States for the better part of the last two decades, thanks in large part to stronger anti-smoking efforts and an increased awareness of what causes lung cancer.
However, a recent study published on June 25 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology says that lung cancer deaths are "steady or rising" among middle-aged women who live in the South or Midwest.
What could be the cause of such a dramatic, unexpected spike?
Chances are that regardless of where you live, it's way too hot outside right now.According to The Associated Press, more than 1,000 temperature records have been shattered across the country, including a jaw-dropping 251 new daily high temperatures on Tuesday. And it's only June! July and August probably aren't going to give us a break.So what should we do? Well, for starters, if at all possible, stay indoors during the hot daytime hours. But if you must spend a significant portion of your day outside, make sure you keep your skin covered and wear sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher on any exposed areas.
At the University of Arizona Cancer Center, our Skin Cancer Institute
aims to spread the message of sun safety to the Southern Arizona community through a variety of initiatives.
Photo courtesy of the NCI
According to the National Cancer Institute
, roughly 70,000 adolescents and young adults (ages 15-39) are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States.
For those 70,000 individuals, their lives - their hopes, dreams, goals - are all too often derailed by this horrible illness. Many of these patients will survive the disease, but recent studies show that their challenges are just beginning.A new analysis
, which used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
, suggests that Survivors of adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancers have worse health and unhealthier behaviors than people without a history of cancer.
Everyone knows how important regular exercise is when it comes to maintaining a healthy and happy lifestyle, but some folks find the idea to be a little overwhelming.Perhaps you used to exercise, but fell out of a routine for any number of reasons and you've struggled to get back into the swing of it. Perhaps you find the idea of a gym to be a bit too intimidating. Perhaps you think you don't have enough time in your busy schedule.Recent studies have shown that no exercise at all poses the greatest health risk. Even mild physical activity has numerous health benefits, including a reduction in the risk of breast cancer.
Substantial weight gain, on the other hand, will almost certainly negate these benefits.
A new analysis done by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
researchers has found that physical activity - either mild or intense and before or after menopause - may reduce breast cancer risk.
Cynthia Thomson (photo by Chris Richards)
Eat your vegetables.
It's the three magic words every parent says to a child, and every doctor says to a patient. It's widely recognized as one of the keys to good health, but few people realize that a vegetable-heavy diet can be the most effective form of cancer prevention.
University of Arizona Cancer Center member Cynthia Thomson, PhD, RD, CSO
, is at the forefront of nutrition-related cancer prevention research, and her latest work is being recognized as a major advancement in the field.
Dr. Thomson has been selected as a winner of the 2011 Huddleson Award for her manuscript, "A Systematic Review of Behavioral Interventions to Promote Intake of Fruit and Vegetables,"
published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (now the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics).