With World Cancer Day just a few days away on Saturday, February 4, it’s only appropriate to take a look at all of the progress that’s been made in the last 50 years in terms of cancer survivorship
, research and treatments.
As terrible as this disease is – in every way, shape and form, we certainly have come a long way. These days, though still scary, a cancer diagnosis no longer means a death sentence. There is more hope for a positive outcome with a cancer diagnosis than ever before.Cancer Survival Rates on the Rise
One of the best ways to really understand just how far cancer research has come is to look at the statistics, such as survival rates. The following are the five-year survival rates from 1975-77 and 1999-2006 as gathered by SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) and published in Health, United States, 2010 for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2010.
Breast cancer – Up from 76.1 percent to 91.2 percent
Prostate cancer – Up from 70.2 percent to 99.9 percent
Lung cancer - Up from 12.8 percent to 16.8 percent
Cervical cancer – Up from 70.8 percent to 72.5 percent
Colon cancer – Up from 51.9 percent to 67.2 percent
Colorectal cancer – Up from 49.6 percent to 69.5 percent
Pancreatic cancer – Up from 2.6 percent to 5.8 percent
Ovarian cancer – Up from 36.6 percent to 45.0 percent
The overall cancer survival rate has risen from 51.2 percent to 69.1 percent.What’s Changed?
Better screening methods, treatment options
, and a better understanding of the disease have certainly played a major role in the increased survival rates. But so has public awareness about early detection, health and lifestyle, as well as a major shift in attitude. Not only are we more aware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle when it comes to cancer risk, but we’re also living in an age where certain topics are no longer as taboo as they once were.
The biggest example of this is with prostate cancer
, which has always been one of the most treatable cancers. There was a time when talking about “that” part of the body, let alone going to a doctor to check it, was something that most men wouldn’t dare do. Sadly for many men, this would lead to a late diagnosis once the cancer had already spread. When found early enough, the survival rate for prostate cancer is 99.9 percent! Early detection is key when it comes to prognosis.
The statistics are certainly promising, though experts still say that we’ve got a long way to go . . . something worth remembering this World Cancer Day and every day