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[cdn-nucl-l] More Americans Surviving Cancer Than in 1970s
Posted by Reuters on Yahoo News on June 24, 2004 and at:
More Americans Surviving Cancer Than in 1970s
Thu Jun 24, 2:23 PM ET Add Health - Reuters to My Yahoo!
By Paul Simao
ATLANTA (Reuters) - The number of Americans who live at least five years
after a cancer diagnosis has risen sharply since the mid-1970s due to
increased screening, improved medical treatment and overall higher life
expectancy, federal health experts reported on Thursday.
An estimated 64 percent of adults diagnosed with cancer between 1995 and
2000 could expect to be alive five years later, according to data compiled
by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (news - web sites) and the
National Cancer Institute (news - web sites).
That compared with 50 percent of adults who were told they had the disease
between 1974 and 1976. The five-year survival rates -- considered a key
marker for cancer patients -- excluded noncancer-related deaths.
Young teens and children also had higher cancer survival rates, according to
the study, which was released by the CDC.
Seventy-nine percent of children under the age of 15 were expected to live
five years after a diagnosis between 1991 and 2000. The five-year survival
rate for this group was only 56 percent during the 1974-1976 period.
U.S. health officials said improving cancer survival rates indicated a need
to focus more attention on the long-term health as well as social and
economic well-being of cancer patients.
An estimated 9.8 million Americans, or 3.5 percent of the population, were
living with cancer in 2001, compared to 3 million, or 1.5 percent of the
population, three decades earlier, according to the study.
"Issues faced by cancer survivors include maintaining optimal physical and
mental health, preventing disability and late effects related to cancer and
its treatment, and ensuring social and economic well-being for themselves
and their family," said Dr. Julia Rowland, an National Cancer Institute
official and one of the study's authors.
Breast cancer was the most common primary cancer reported by survivors in
2001, followed by prostate cancer, colorectal cancer and gynecologic cancer.
An estimated 60 percent of all newly diagnosed cancers in 2001 were among
those 65 and older.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States after heart