NEW YORK – The odds of surviving cancer in the United States are about half as high as they were a decade ago, according to new research published online by the American Cancer Society.
The study, published online Tuesday in the journal Cancer, found women with advanced cancer are about 10 percent more likely to survive a full year after diagnosis than women with normal or mild-to-moderate cancer.
And the survival rate is much higher among those women who are in remission than those who have not been diagnosed with the disease, the researchers said.
More than 7.4 million women and 1.3 million men aged 50 to 74 in the U.S. have stage-three or early-stage-4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma, according the study.
“It’s a really good finding, it’s a good result,” said lead author R.D. Hulbert, an epidemiologist with the American Association of Clinical Oncology.
Hulbert said the study confirms a long-held hypothesis in cancer research that the survival advantage for women with cancer is primarily due to the fact that women who get cancer are more likely than men to survive.
Hulinbert and his colleagues found that for every 100 women diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, there were about 8.5 women who were alive in the year after their diagnosis and 6.9 who were living and thriving.
The survival rate among women with stage-3 or early stage-4 cancer was about 11 percent.
The survival rate for men was about 10.7 percent.
The odds of survival increased with age, as was the survival of the women who did not develop cancer in adulthood.
For the younger age groups, the odds of death were about 15 percent, the study found.
The findings were based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which tracked health and nutritional status and was conducted every 10 years between 1988 and 1994.
The researchers looked at data on more than 11 million women, 7.2 million men, and 4.9 million non-Hispanic blacks in the years 1993 through 1994.
They looked at the survival outcomes in four age groups: women 50 to 64 years, men 50 to 59 years, women 60 to 69 years, and men 60 to 64.
The average survival rate of the four groups was 13.4 percent, but for the younger group, the survival was 24.4.
The results of the study suggest that survival benefits in older women may be even greater.
“The survival advantage is probably greater for women than men,” Hulbor said.HULBERT added that the study shows that women may benefit from taking steps to prevent or control their cancer.
“You can go into your cancer and it will not spread and will be less aggressive,” Hulinbert said.
“Women can help themselves.”
The researchers say that if the survival benefits were only for women, they could not have been achieved by making more aggressive approaches to managing the disease.