Better cancer treatments and an aging population will push the number of cancer survivors in the U.S. to nearly 18 million by 2022, according to a new report from researchers at the National Cancer Institute.
As of January 2012, there were 13.7 million survivors of bladder, breast, colorectal, kidney, lung, prostate, thyroid and other cancers, the report says. Over 10 years, that figure is projected to grow 31% to 17,981,391, the researchers estimate.
Today, the biggest group of cancer survivors is women who had breast cancer (22%), followed by men who had prostate cancer (20%). No. 3 is men and women who had colorectal cancer (8.8%) and No. 4 is melanoma (7.1%). Only 3% of cancer survivors are men and women who had lung cancer, even though it is the second most-common cancer diagnosis for both groups.
The report notes that 64% of survivors have remained alive for at least five years after being diagnosed; 40% have been alive for at least 10 years; and 25% have been alive for at least 15 years. By the year 2022, the proportion of cancer survivors who will have lived at least 15 years after their diagnosis will rise to 28% (amounting to 5 million people).