More people in the U.S. are surviving with cancer and living longer lives than ever before, even as nearly 2 million Americans are estimated to receive cancer diagnoses in 2022 alone, according to a new report from the American Association for Cancer Research. The report was released on Wednesday and chronicles statistics on cancer occurrence and mortality, new therapies that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer care and research.
In 1971, 3 million Americans, or 1.4 percent of the U.S. population, were living with a cancer diagnosis; this year, that number is over 18 million, or 5.4 percent of the population. The increase may seem alarming at first, but it’s actually a good sign: Diagnostics have improved and are able to catch more cancer cases earlier these days. The overall incidence of cancer (the number of new cases diagnosed per year) has actually decreased in the past 50 years. That millions more Americans are living with cancer today also signifies that patients are now living longer, in part due to treatments including immunotherapies, targeted therapies like antibody-drug conjugates, and existing cancer drugs being repurposed for forms of cancers they were not initially designed to treat.
These advances have helped across the board, but some patient populations remain disproportionately affected by different cancers. For instance, non-whites are diagnosed with gastric cancer at twice the rate of non-Hispanic white populations, and lung cancer death rates are 34 percent higher among rural residents compared to city-dwellers. Access to health care, structural inequities like housing discrimination, and proximity to carcinogenic pollution all contribute to these disparities, according to the report. Individuals in racial and ethnic minorities are 61 percent more likely than white people to live in a county with unhealthy levels of air pollution, according to research cited in the report.
Source: The Daily Beast
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