Odds of Surviving Cancer Increasing

Posted on Jul 8, 2011 in Cancer, Health & Wellness

By Tammie Smith

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States.

Every year, cancer, which is not a single disease but many diseases of abnormal cell growth, kills more than 500,000 people.

But more people are surviving.

Most breast cancer patients, for instance, are cured, said Tom Smith, a cancer specialist at Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“Eventually we will have a blood test or DNA test we can do after surgery, after chemotherapy, to say there is no sign of your cancer. Make sure you exercise. Make sure you get nine fruits and vegetables and cereal servings a day. Make sure you keep your weight down. And we will see you next year for your cholesterol test,” he said.

“Cancer used to be a death sentence. Now, most people are survivors. Even people who aren’t cured can have good quality of life, often for quite a while,” he said.

According to the American Cancer Society, cancer death rates since the 1990s have declined 21 percent for men and 12 percent for women, mainly because fewer people smoke, there are better treatments and earlier detection.

Survivors are everywhere. They don’t wear “S” on their chests, but many have waged tremendous battles.