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Basic Information for Cancer Survivors

Photo of a cancer survivor and her husband

Who Are Cancer Survivors?

The term cancer survivor refers to a person who has been diagnosed with cancer, from the time of diagnosis throughout his or her life. The impact of cancer on survivors’ family members, friends, and caregivers is also a part of survivorship.

How Many Cancer Survivors Are in the United States?

Nearly 14 million Americans who have been diagnosed with cancer are living in the United States. Although the rate of people who get cancer is going down, the overall number of people who have cancer is going up. The number of people who are 65 years old or older is expected to grow to 71 million by 2030—twice the number of people in this age group as compared to 2000. People also are living longer after being told they have cancer, due to improvements in finding cancer early and better cancer treatments.

About two out of every three people who are diagnosed with cancer are expected to live at least five years after diagnosis, but differences in health care affect survival. Men and women with low incomes, racial and ethnic groups, or other underserved populations who have little or no health insurance are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at later stages, when survival rates are shorter.

How Do Public Health Professionals Help Cancer Survivors?

Cancer survivors often face many challenges as a result of their cancer diagnosis and treatment. Public health professionals in CDC and other agencies are working to address the needs of cancer survivors and the survivorship community. Learn more information about special topics pertaining to the needs of survivors, including—

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