Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the U.S., only slightly exceeded
by deaths from cardiovascular diseases. In some U.S. states, cancer is the leading
cause of death. Globally, cancer is the leading cause of death. Since 1950, U.S.
heart disease death rates have declined by more than half, but cancer death rates
have declined much more slowly in spite of an annual investment by the National
Cancer Institute, other federal agencies, charities and pharmaceutical companies
estimated at $116 billion in 2018.20 In 2019, the National Cancer Institute alone
spent an estimated $6.6 billion on cancer research, nearly three times more than the
investment in cardiovascular disease research.
The financial costs of cancer are high for both the person with cancer and for society
as a whole. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimated the 2009 overall
annual costs of cancer were $216.6 billion. Of this total, direct medical costs were
$86.6 billion, and indirect mortality costs (cost of lost productivity due to premature
death) were $130 billion.22 Annually, more nearly 1.8 million Americans will
be diagnosed with cancer, and about 600,000 will die of cancer – that’s more than
1,600 people a day.
The incidence of cancer refers to the number of new cases that develop in a certain
place during a given period of time, such as a year. About one-half of all men and
one-third of all women in the U.S. will develop cancer during their lifetimes. Fortunately,
the odds of dying from cancer are much lower. One in four men and one
in five women will die from cancer.
Cancer prevalence is the number of people who have ever been diagnosed with
cancer who are still living at a specified point in time. Currently, two out of three
people will survive at least five years after a cancer diagnosis. Excluding basal
cell and squamous cell skin cancers and all non-invasive (in-situ) cancers other
than bladder cancer, the National Cancer Institute estimates that (as of January 1,
2016), there were more than 15 million cancer survivors in the U.S.—either living
with cancer or cancer-free.23 Nearly half of cancer survivors are 70 years of age or
older. About three million are men living after a diagnosis of prostate cancer, and
about three million are women who have had a breast cancer diagnosis. Breast and
prostate cancers are examples of cancers with high prevalence because they are
common, and because 90% of people with these cancers survive at least five years
after diagnosis. Some other common cancers, such as lung cancer, and less common
cancers such as pancreatic and liver cancer, have low survivor rates with fewer
than 20% of people surviving at five years after diagnosis.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel