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From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition
FIGURE 2-3 Projected number of cancer cases for 2000 through 2050. Projections based on (1) U.S. Census Bureau population projections (2000–2050) and (2) age-specific cancer incidence rates (1995–1999) from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program and the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR), 1995–1999.
2050, the absolute number of people aged 65 and older diagnosed with cancer is expected to double (Figure 2-3) (Edwards et al., 2002). This estimate is based on applying current cancer incidence rates to Census Bureau population projections. If accurate, these estimates would indicate that the number of cancer survivors will grow at an even greater rate than incident cancers, putting great demands on service providers and systems of care.
As the number of cancer survivors increased throughout the 1970s and 1980s, a cancer survivorship advocacy community emerged and identified medical, psychosocial, economic, and legal issues related to their history of cancer. The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS), a cancer advocacy group founded in 1986, defined cancer survivorship as “the experience of living with, through, and beyond a diagnosis of cancer” (NCCS, 1996). Full articulation of the concept of “cancer survivorship” can be traced to a 1985 article written by one of NCCS’s founders, Fitzhugh