The number of cancer survivors in the U.S. more than tripled to 9.8 million in 2001 from 3 million in 1971, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute. Patients diagnosed between 1995 and 2000 had a 64% five-year survival rate, compared with a 50% rate three decades ago. While the number of cancer survivors is growing for all types of cancer, breast-cancer survivors make up the largest portion of group, 22%, followed by prostate-cancer survivors, 17%. Some 61% of cancer survivors surveyed were 65 and older, and an estimated one of every six people over 65 is a cancer survivor. Loria Pollack, a CDC medical officer, said public health programs have long focused on early detection and prevention of cancer but their focus is now expanding to include cancer survivorship. Clinical guidelines to guarantee attentive follow-up and health promotion for survivors are critical, Pollack said. -- by Julie Piotrowski
Number of cancer survivors, survival rates soar
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