New research from the American Association of Cancer Research suggests that more people are surviving cancer today than ever before due to the last decade seeing “unprecedented progress” in cancer research.
“The U.S. cancer death rate is steadily declining and more people than ever before are living longer and fuller lives after a cancer diagnosis,” the report said.
Researchers discovered an increase in just the past year in the number of cancer survivors. From 2016 to 2019, the rate of people surviving cancer increased as well. CBS reported that researchers found the number of survivors has gone up by more than a million just in the past year.
“In fact, the number of children and adults living with a history of cancer exceeded a record 18 million in January 2022,” the report said.
The “remarkable advances” in diagnosis of cancer, treatment, prevention and research are what have helped increase the number of survivors, according to researchers. The FDA reported that they gave the stamp of approval of eight anticancer therapeutics and two new diagnostic imaging agents and 10 therapeutics for new types of cancer from August 2021 to July 2022.
“We have a now a revolution in immune therapies. And when you put that together with the combination of targeted therapies, chemo and radiation therapy, we now have patients that would have died within two years of a diagnosis living 15, 20, 25, 39 years, essentially cured of their malignancies,” AACR President Lisa Coussens said.
Despite these forward steps, these numbers are not equal, and many people still “continue to shoulder a disproportionate burden of cancer,” the report said — including Black populations and other minority populations, per CBS.
Cancer is still currently the second leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also reported that cancer killed about 602,350 people in 2020.