Monday, March 14. 2011
The number of U.S. cancer survivors increased by 19 percent between 2001 and 2007, reaching 11.7 million, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Early detection and treatment has helped millions of Americans either beat their cancer diagnosis or live with it as a chronic illness, according to the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Report. In 1971, there were only 3 million cancer survivors in the U.S., while there were 9.8 million in 2001.
Those living with breast cancer make up the biggest portion of survivors at 22 percent, followed by prostate cancer patients at 19 percent. Researchers said 65 percent of cancer survivors had been living with the illness for at least five years at the time of the study, while more than one million had been living with the ailment for 25 years or longer.
CDC Director Thomas Friedman said healthy lifestyle choices such as avoiding tobacco, engaging in regular exercise and consuming a healthy diet are key in preventing a cancer diagnosis.
"Preventing cancer and detecting it early remain critically important as some cancers can be prevented or detected early enough to be effectively treated," Friedman said.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the nation, surpassed only by heart disease. The CDC reports more than half a million Americans succumb to the disease each year.
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