According to the 2016 Cancer Treatment and Survivorship Statistics, cancer survivors are growing in numbers within America, hitting 15.5 million people; stating that is it estimated that by 2026, that number will continue to increase to over 20 million.
The reasons? Mostly due to improved treatment and early detection, but also because the overall population is growing, and living longer. The authors of the report note, that while awareness is increasing around issues cancer survivors face, and their resiliency is strong, they still do deal with many challenges.
The team dove into the numbers around current survivors when it came to the fatal disease, and what those levels could be like in the future. The term ‘cancer survivor’ refers to anyone who has been diagnosed with the illness, yet is still living.
Therefore, it was estimated that on January 1st of this year, 15.5 million people within the U.S., who had been diagnosed with cancer, were still alive; with the projection that this number would continue to increase over the years to more than 20 million by 2026. It’s important to note, that the number of survivors might not relate to the prevalence of each cancer within the general public. For example, while survivors of lung cancer only make up the eighth largest survivor group, it is actually the second highest cancer that is diagnosed, and has very low survival rates.
Interestingly enough, close to half of the cancer survivors in this statistic were 70 years of age or older, and the range of cancer types varies. About 64% of them had prostate cancer, where 37% were survivors of melanoma.
Approximately 75% of survivors of breast cancer were over 60 years of age, and only seven percent were younger than 50 years old.
On the other end of the age spectrum, only 190 cancer survivors in the U.S. were under the age of 14; while 180 of these survivors were between the ages of 15 to 19. It is estimated that over 10,000 children, under the age of 14, will be handed a diagnosis of cancer, this year alone.
Medical News Today reports that while there have been leaps in support and aftercare for those who have survived cancer, there are still improvements that are needed. The authors stated the main issues include: a broken down healthcare system, inadequate transitioning of care for survivors from oncology and primary care surroundings, the need for stronger evidence-based strategies regarding post-treatment care, as well as financial barriers, and other issues around gaining quality care.