There are more Cancer Survivors in America Today than ever Before? How Come?
A lot of Americans fall ill to cancer. That’s the only conclusion you can come to when you look at the latest CDC data. At least 5% of America has taken ill with cancer at one time or another; and 20% of all seniors have too. Is that really depressing? Yes, but not as much as it would have been if you didn’t have this particular number: 20%. That’s the progress that’s been made over the last decade in getting people who fall ill with cancer to survive. Back in the 70s, America had 3 million cancer survivors. Today, there are four times as many.
Somehow, when people learn they have cancer today, they feel like they’ve been read their own death sentence. That might have been the way you would have needed to feel at one time. Today, you can legitimately view cancer as just a very tough disease that it is possible to survive past. Two out of three cancer survivors live five years past the day they learn; half of them live 10 years; and one in 10 lives a full 25 years past that date.
One oddity that doctors notice among cancer survivors is that they feel that since they were just read their death sentence, that they don’t really have to be careful about their health anymore. They feel they can die any day now; they might as well take advantage. That’s only because word hasn’t got about that cancer isn’t a death sentence. You can’t abuse your body thinking that you are about to die any day. You could live for 20 years and suffer new kinds of diseases if you don’t take care of yourself.
So how is it that we find ourselves in these happy circumstances that cancer should no longer be considered a killer disease? In the case of colon cancer or breast cancer, afflictions are caught more quickly today than before. There is better public awareness and people check themselves out early on. As far as prostate cancer goes, it’s hardly a killer disease. What has improved with prostate cancer is that it’s a disease that gets diagnosed more often today, thanks to commonly available screening procedures. It’s easy to be a prostate cancer survivor. Prostate cancer survivors are easy to find; the disease progresses slowly, with many people, it doesn’t do anything before they die a natural death.
Certainly, there has been a certain amount of progress made in cancer cures. But not as much as the figures would dictate. What has improved is the early detection rate.