Cancer survivor numbers are up
March 10th, 2011
03:38 PM ET

Cancer survivor numbers are up

More Americans are beating cancer.

The number of cancer survivors in the United States increased to 11.7 million in 2007, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute. That’s compared with 3 million cancer survivors in 1971 and 9.8 million in 2001.

For this study, a cancer survivor was defined as anyone who has had cancer, from the time of  diagnosis through the balance of his or her life.

Authors of the study, which was published in the CDC's most recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report , analyzed the number of new cancer cases and follow-up data between 1971 and 2007. Population statistics from the 2006 and 2007 United States Census were also included. By looking at the results, researchers
estimated the number of persons who ever had a cancer diagnosis who were alive on Jan. 1, 2007.

"It's good news that so many are surviving cancer and leading long, productive, and healthy lives," said CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden. "Preventing cancer and detecting it early remain critically important as some cancers can be prevented or detected early enough to be effectively treated. Not smoking, getting regular physical activity, eating healthy foods, and limiting alcohol use can reduce the risk of many cancers."

The study also found of the 11.7 million people living with cancer in 2007, 7 million were 65 years or older. Women were more likely to survive cancer, (54%) and breast cancer survivors are the largest group of cancer survivors (22%), followed by prostate cancer survivors (19%) and colorectal cancer survivors (10%).

"As the number of cancer survivors continues to increase, it is important for medical and public health professionals to be knowledgeable of issues survivors may face, especially the long-term effects of treatment on their physical and psychosocial well-being," said Dr. Arica White, an officer in CDC's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. "This understanding is critical in promoting good health and coordinating comprehensive care for cancer survivors."

Researchers believe the increase in the number of cancer survivors is due to several reasons, including a growing aging population, early detection, improved diagnostic methods, more effective treatment, and improved clinical follow-up after treatment.

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. JB

    This is good news.. People are finally realizing that changing their bodies PH balance can change cancer rates. Cancer cannot survive in a alkaline environment. Simply drinking alkaline water can change peoples lives.

    March 10, 2011 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Almost...

    @JB, drinking acidic liquids increases your chances of GERD, which in turn increases the chances of you developing Barrot's Esophagus, which in turn increases your chances of having Esophageal Cancer (which has a very low prognosis). Try again.

    March 10, 2011 at 18:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Almost But Not Quite

      I'm not getting into the blood pH discussion. You need to read his comment closer. He stated alkaline a pH above 7 and acidic is pH below 7.

      March 10, 2011 at 21:28 | Report abuse |
    • JB

      @Almost..You prove my point. Drinking acidic liquids increases you chances of almost every cancerous aliment in the body. If you want references..Please see info from a NOBEL PRIZE WINNER!!! Need I say more..


      March 10, 2011 at 21:41 | Report abuse |
    • JB

      Also you'll see by "almost But not quite" WTHell....Most will not discuss this because in the presence of truth...there is silence.. It will a dag on shame to find out that since 1931..Big pharma has been pulling the wool over our heads by pushing dangerous drugs, making billions.. When all the while long all we needed was to stop drinking/eating acidic product and drinking alkaline water.. DAYUM!

      March 10, 2011 at 21:51 | Report abuse |
  3. Knute

    So, a cancer survivor was defined as anyone who has had cancer, from the time of diagnosis through the balance of his or her life.

    Hmm.. That is a somewhat tricky definition of a cancer survivor.
    (For one thing, it would include those who for example were diagnosed with cancer a relatively short time ago, and still live – and are not close to being 5 year cancer survivor. But let's leave that one alone for now...)

    More importantly, for us to find if there are any improvements in the mainstream cancer treatment methods, we need to know exactly what the population numbers were for those who were diagnosed with cancer, for the years 2007, 2001 and 1971. Did they list or estimate those numbers in the study? Or were they included at all?

    The number of people who are diagnosed with cancer each year are most probably growing. That means that if there was no improvement in the methods of treating cancer, the cancer survivor number would still be growing significantly.

    Also, what about those who were at one point diagnosed with cancer, and died – but the cause of death is not officially listed as 'cancer', instead it could be pneumonia or other illnesses. Some of these illnesses could be the secondary effects of radiation, chemo or surgery. This would be very relevant.

    Anyway, there are many questions here, and one thing is for sure: The number of cancer survivors as defined here does not indicate that things are improving.

    March 10, 2011 at 23:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jeff

    I find this article very interesting and to those who have beaten that disease I salute them and may they live in our thoughts and prayers forever!

    July 21, 2011 at 23:04 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.