Two-Thirds In U.S. With Invasive Cancer Live Five Or More Years: Study

With Invasive Cancer Live Five Or More Years - Women cancer survivor feeling blessed on a beach

From Medical Daily

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Two out of three people in the US with invasive cancer live at least five years after they are diagnosed. This is according to a federal study released on Thursday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracked patients diagnosed from 2003 to 2010. They found that the overall five-year survival rate for invasive cancer was 65 percent. A goal of a federal program called Healthy People 2020 is to reach a rate of 71.7 percent.

Five-year survival rates were highest for patients aged 45 and younger at 81 percent. For those with prostate cancer, 97 percent, or female breast cancer, 88 percent. Invasive lung cancer, which often spreads to the brain or bones, had the lowest rate at 18 percent.

“Four decades ago, survival was about half at five years,” Lisa Richardson, who directs the CDC’s division of cancer prevention and control. “Over the years, the trends have been up, and I believe we’re going to continue to see those trends.”

She credited improved diagnostic tools and treatment for the improved survival rates.

Although therapies for some cancers have improved over the years. Cancer epidemiologists warn that early diagnosis can produce a misleading view of survival rates. Even if tumors are detected when they are small, patients might not live to an older age. They just live more years knowing they have cancer and are more likely to be counted as five-year survivors.

Richardson urged patients diagnosed with invasive cancer to work with their doctors. The doctors can provide appropriate treatment and screenings and to adopt healthy habits. “If they smoke, quit; maintain a healthy weight and exercise,” she said.

Survival rates varied by race. Among black patients with invasive cancer, 60 percent survived at least five years, while 65 percent of white patients did.

The disparity, Richardson said, could be because black Americans have higher rates of chronic illnesses. For example, type-2 diabetes, as well as less access to quality health care.


(Reporting by David Beasley; Editing by Sharon Begley and Lisa Von Ahn) For