According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States.
It trails behind heart disease and if expected to overcome it and become the leading cause of death within the near future in the United States.
The World Health Organization suggests that cancer incidence rates will rise by nearly 60% over the coming 2 decades to 22 million diagnoses per year.
Currently with few actual cures, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization’s projections are terrifying.
A second cancer is the occurrence of a new type of cancer, or the growth of a similar type of cancer on new tissue. Second tumor does not include the regrowth of an original tumor. A recent study shows that between 1970 and today, the prevalence of second cancer diagnoses had increased by 300%. Conversely, initial cancer diagnoses have increased 70% over the same time period.
It is common knowledge that cancer diagnoses are on the rise, but the prevalence of second cancer occurrences is disheartening news. If a patient beats cancer, it can be demoralizing to find out at some point in the future that they have to face a potentially similar battle again.
However, there is some hidden good news in this data.
Old age is one of the biggest across-the-board risk factors for cancer. A rising incidence rate of second cancers suggests that first cancers are being treated more effectively and people are living longer than ever. It is proof that drug developers are working hard to unlock the secrets to fight cancer and that diagnostic developers and physicians are ensuring patients receive the best treatment plans available.
The 2015 Facts and Figures report form the American Cancer Society noted improvements in physician and patient education, as well as more effective medicine. Together, they have improved five-year survival rates for a variety of cancer types.
Breast and prostate cancer, the two most commonly diagnosed cancer types have moved from a five-year survival rate of 75% and 68% in the 1975 – 1977 era to 91% and greater than 99% between 2004 and 2010. Other cancer types demonstrated strong five-year survival improvements as well.
Although it would be refreshing to see falling cancer incidence rates overall, the simple implication that survival rates are improving suggests that experts are on the right track to improving the quality and length of life for cancer patients