Physical activity and other healthy behaviors can hasten recovery from the immediate side effects of cancer treatment, prevent long-term effects, and may reduce the risk of recurrence and increase survival, says a first-ever report by the American Cancer Society (ACS) that tracks the growing population of cancer survivors in the United States.
Developed in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, the report estimates that there are 13.7 million cancer survivors alive in the United States today. The number will grow to almost 18 million by 2022.
The 3 most common cancers among male survivors are prostate cancer (43%), colon and rectal cancer (9%), and melanoma skin cancer (7%). The 3 most common cancers among female survivors are breast cancer (41%), uterine cancer (8%), and colon and rectal cancer (8%). Those percentages are expected to stay roughly the same through 2022.
The report also finds that 45% of cancer survivors are 70 years old or older, and only 5% are younger than 40. The median age of patients at the time of cancer diagnosis is 66.
ACS released the report, Cancer Treatment & Survivorship Facts & Figures, and an accompanying journal article in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians last week.
As reported May 2 in News Now, ACS issued its first formal guidelines in April on cancer survivorship. The guidelines stress the importance of physical activity in reducing the chance of recurrence of many cancers and increasing the likelihood of disease-free survival after a diagnosis.