Cancer survivor rates, costs increase

More people in the United States are surviving cancer – and the survivorship numbers will rise in the next decade. That’s according to a March report from the American Association for Cancer Research, which says the number of cancer survivors has reached 13.7 million and is expected to grow to 18 million by 2022.

Researchers credit some of the increase to better cancer detection and treatment, but say that, as the U.S. population ages, the number of cancer survivors – and cancer cases – will naturally increase. The report also shows that life after cancer is expensive.

Here are the numbers.


The percentage of U.S. survivors who as of Jan. 1, 2012, had lived at least five years past their initial diagnoses. Forty percent had lived 10 years and 15 percent had lived 20 years.


The percentage of prostate cancer patients who had survived at least five years after diagnosis; 89 percent of breast cancer patients had. Survivors of these two types of cancer will comprise 42 percent of all cancer survivors in the coming decade, according to the report.


The percentage of lung cancer patients who had reached the five-year mark. Experts say the rate is low because symptoms are vague and the cancer usually isn’t diagnosed until it has already spread.


The fraction among U.S. cancer survivors who will be over age 65 by 2020. A person’s chance of getting many cancers, including prostate, breast and lung, increases with age.

Times 2

The average cancer survivor has health care costs that are twice as high as a person without cancer. Even if the disease is in remission, cancer survivors require regular doctor visits, tests and often treatment of cancer side effects.