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Survival rates in the US for some of the most common cancers

Akshat Rathi
By Akshat Rathi

Senior reporter

The US government may fall short of its goal, which it aimed to achieve by 2020, of 72% of cancer patients surviving at least five years after diagnosis. The most recent figure (pdf), published recently by Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, is just 65%.

Survival rates vary by age and gender—from 84% for females under 44 years of age to 52% for males over 75.

In 2011, 1.5 million cases of invasive cancer were reported, or 451 per 100,000 people.

The most common cancers are those of the prostate, female breast, lung and bronchus, and colon and rectum. Together, they made up half of all cases in 2011, but their survival rates are dramatically different.

There are also racial variation in the incidence rate of cancers. For instance, Native Americans show much lower rates. However, two things are of note. First, despite lower incidence rate of cancer, Native Americans suffer from much lower rates of surviving five years after diagnosis. This is mainly due to poor access to healthcare. Second, the lower incidence rate may also be the result of under-reporting.

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