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American Cancer Society continues efforts to fight cancer and research for cures

A new report this month, estimates the number of Americans with a history of cancer — now about 13.7 million — will grow to almost 18 million by 2022. The data is from a first-ever report by the American Cancer Society (ACS) in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute.

Data for the report generates new estimates of cancer survivor prevalence in the U.S.

“The reports find that even though cancer incidence rates are decreasing, the number of cancer survivors is growing due to the aging and growth of the population, as well as improving cancer survival rates,” the ACS reported. “The growing number of cancer survivors in the U.S. makes it increasingly important to understand the unique medical and psychosocial needs of survivors and raise awareness of resources that can assist patients, caregivers, and health care providers in navigating the various phases of cancer survivorship.”

The report states:

➤ The three most common cancers among males living with a history of cancer in 2012 are prostate cancer (43 percent), colorectal cancer (9 percent) and melanoma (7 percent).

➤ Among women in 2012 with a history of cancer, the three most common cancers are breast (41 percent), uterine (8 percent), and colorectal (8 percent) cancer.

The ACS reported in 2022 those proportions are expected to be largely unchanged.

Other selected findings from the report included:

➤ Nearly one-half (45 percent) of cancer survivors are aged 70 years or older, while 5 percent are aged younger than 40 years of age.

➤ The median age of patients at the time of cancer diagnosis is 66.

➤ There are 58,510 survivors of childhood cancer living in the U.S. An additional 12,060 children will be diagnosed in 2012.

➤ The majority of cancer survivors (64 percent) were diagnosed five or more years ago; 15 percent were diagnosed 20 or more years ago.

➤ As of Jan. 1, 2012, there were 266,510 cancer survivors in Minnesota.

➤ As of January 2012 there were 2.7 million prostate cancer survivors and 2.9 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.

Breast cancer. The overall five-year relative survival rate for female breast cancer patients has improved from 63 percent in the early 1960s to 90 percent today. This increase is due largely to improvements in treatment (i.e., chemotherapy and hormone therapy) and to widespread use of mammography screening.

Colorectal cancer. It is estimated that as of Jan. 1, 2012, there were almost 1.2 million men and women living in the U.S. with a previous colorectal cancer diagnosis. The ACS estimates an additional 143,460 will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2012. The median age at diagnosis for colorectal cancer is 68 for men and 72 for women.

The ACS reports 59 percent of men and women age 50 and older receive colorectal cancer screening. Consequently, less than 40 percent of cases are diagnosed at a local stage, when treatment is most successful.

Leukemia. It is estimated that as of Jan. 1, 2012, there were 298,170 leukemia survivors living in the U.S. The ACS estimates an additional 47,150 people will be diagnosed with leukemia in 2012.

Lung cancer. There were 412,230 men and women living in the U.S. with a history of lung cancer as of Jan. 1, 2012. The ACS estimates 226,160 people will be newly diagnosed in 2012. The median age at diagnosis for lung cancer is 70 years for men and 71 years for women.

Melanoma. Estimates point to 1 million melanoma survivors living in the U.S. at the beginning of 2012. The ACS estimates an additional 76,250 people will be diagnosed this year. Melanoma incidence rates have been increasing for at least 30 years.

About 84 percent of melanomas are diagnosed at a localized stage, when they are highly curable. The ACS reports the median age at diagnosis for melanoma is 63 for men and 56 for women.

Though melanoma is rare before age 30, it is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer, after thyroid and testicular cancer, in those ages 20 to 29 years.

Prostate cancer. It’s estimated that there were nearly 2.8 million men living with prostate cancer in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2012, and 241,740 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012. The median age at diagnosis is 67.

Uterine corpus cancer. The ACS reports there were 606,910 women living in the U.S. with a previous diagnosis of uterine corpus cancer as of Jan. 1, 2012, and 47,130 women will be diagnosed in 2012. Uterine corpus cancer is the second most common cancer among female cancer survivors, following breast cancer. The ACS reports more than 90 percent of these cancers occur in the lining of the uterus. The median age at diagnosis for uterine corpus cancer is 61.

Urinary bladder cancer. The ACS reports there were 585,390 urinary bladder cancer survivors living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2012. The society estimates 73,510 people will be diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2012.

The study noted half of all bladder cancer patients are diagnosed while the tumor is localized and present only in the layer of cells in which the cancer developed. Cancer of the urinary bladder is most common among older adults with a median age at diagnosis of 73 for men and 74 for women.

Thyroid cancer. This cancer is the fastest-increasing cancer in both men and women, the ACS report noted. Estimates have 558,260 people living in the U.S. with thyroid cancer. An additional 56,460 will be diagnosed in 2012, the ACS reported, adding the incidence rate of thyroid cancer has been increasing sharply since the mid-1990s.

Testicular cancer. It is estimated there are 230,910 testicular cancer survivors in the U.S., and an additional 8,590 men will be diagnosed in 2012. The five-year relative survival rate for men diagnosed with early stage testicular cancer is 99 percent, that drops to 96 percent if the cancer has spread regionally and 72 percent if the cancer has spread to other areas of the body.

The ACS describes its mission as helping people “stay well, get well, find cures and fight back.”

“We fund and conduct research that helps us better understand, prevent, and cure cancer,” the ACS stated.

In the United States, the ACS is the largest non-government funder of cancer research. The ACS reports it spends about $130 million each year in the search for cancer cures by providing grants and scholarships and conducting its own research.

“We fund beginning researchers with cutting-edge ideas early in their careers — 46 of whom have gone on to win the Nobel Prize, the highest accolade in scientific achievement,” the ACS reports.

Research funding is designed to help provide a greater understanding of what causes cancer, how to prevent it and ways to cure it.

“We’ve had a hand in nearly every major cancer breakthrough of the last century, including confirming the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, establishing the link between obesity and multiple cancers, developing drugs to treat leukemia and advanced breast cancer, and showing that mammography is the most effective way to detect breast cancer,” the ACS reports on its website.

The ACS’ Statistics and Evaluation Center assists researchers in publication of peer-reviewed scientific journals and original research. It also works with the Cancer Control Science to look at how cancer prevention may be related to heart disease and diabetes, looking at what lives could be saved if various prevention opportunities were implemented.

Recent developments in cancer research include the discovery of a genetic link to esophageal cancer and studies highlighting risks of cancer associated with pregnancy and the diabetes and insulin link to increased risk of colorectal cancer in men but not women.

“Research is at the heart of the American Cancer Society’s mission,” the ACS reported. “For more than 60 years, the society has been finding answers that save lives — from changes in lifestyle to new approaches in therapies to improving cancer patients’ quality-of-life. No single nongovernmental, not-for-profit organization in the U.S. has invested more to find the causes and cures of cancer than the American Cancer Society.”

For more information, go to, which includes cancer facts and figures, cancer treatment and survivorship facts, ways to stay healthy, information on choosing a doctor or a facility, risk of reoccurrence, cancer support and treatment, research and how to get involved.

The American Cancer Society was founded in 1913 as the American Society for the Control of Cancer (ASCC) by 15 prominent physicians and business leaders in New York City.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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