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Number of US. Cancer Survivors to Jump in the Next Decade

Thanks to recent advancements in diagnosis and treatment of cancer, more Americans are being successfully treated for cancer than before, leading to the fast growth in the number of cancer survivors.

However as this trend progresses, so do the psychological and medical problems associated with cancer and its treatment, according to a new study by the American Cancer Society.

A cancer survivor, as defined in the study, is a person who is receiving treatment or has been successfully treated for cancer.

Study Author Kevin Stein, who is the vice president of the Behavioral Research Center for the American Cancer Society, mentioned that these cancer treatments are causing some serious adverse effects on the survivors.

Study Author Kim Miller, who is an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society noted, in an interview with CBS News, that many cancer survivors suffer long-term physical, psychological, and socio-economic issues associated with cancer, and this study is pertinent for public health agencies as well as health policy makers in understanding the various dimensions to cancer, its effects on survivors, and the appropriate treatments.

Notable points from the study are highlighted below;

  • There are over 15.5 million people living with cancer in the US, and this number will likely increase to 20 million in a decade.
  • Approximately one-third of cancer survivors in the US were diagnosed within the 5 years prior, and over half were diagnosed within the previous 10 years. Long-term survivors being those who are 5, 10, 15, and 20 years passed the time of their original diagnosis.
  • Some of the adverse effects are long-term, occurring many months to years after completing treatment. Some of these effects are cognitive problems, heart disease, nerve damage, and osteoporosis.
  • Long term physical and psychological effects include depression, anxiety, fatigue, and nerve pain. A lot of these manifesting right from the beginning when patients are newly diagnosed and persist even after completion of treatment.

The study findings were published over a year ago in the journal, A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The research team hopes that these findings will enable researchers and physicians better understand the needs of survivors and better tackle them holistically.



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