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More People are Surviving Cancer

The number of people surviving cancer in the United States increased to almost 12 million in 2007, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute. By comparison, there were 3 million cancer survivors in 1971 and 9.8 million in 2001.

Specific study findings:

  • Of the 11.7 million people living with cancer in 2007, 7 million were ages 65 years or older.
  • Women make up a large proportion of cancer survivors (54 percent).
  • Breast cancer survivors are the largest group of cancer survivors (22 percent), followed by prostate cancer survivors (19 percent) and colorectal cancer survivors (10 percent).
  • Among all survivors, 4.7 million received their diagnosis 10 or more years earlier.

The researchers analyzed data from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program between 1971 and 2007. Population data from the 2006 and 2007 United States Census were also included. The researchers estimated the number of persons ever diagnosed with cancer who were alive on Jan. 1, 2007, with the exception of non-melanoma skin cancers.

"It's good news that so many are surviving cancer and leading long, productive, and healthy lives," said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., in a CDC news release. "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."

Additional Resources and References

  • The study, "Cancer Survivors in the United States, 2007," was published in the March 10, 2011 CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
  • This article references the March 10, 2011, CDC news release, US Cancer Survivors Grows to Nearly 12 Million