AACR’s Cancer Progress Report Details Major Advances in Cancer and Rising Costs of Treatment
- More than 589,000 Americans are projected to die from cancer this year, and the costs of treating the disease are estimated to climb to $156 billion by 2020.
- Over the past year, the FDA approved nine new anticancer therapies, including four immunotherapies, and new uses for six previously approved anticancer therapeutics.
- A survey of American voters found that 81% favor using taxpayer dollars to fund cancer research; 74% want increased funding for cancer research; and 50% would be more likely to vote for a presidential or congressional candidate who supports sustained increases in federal funding for cancer research.
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 2015 Cancer Progress Report highlighted the accelerated pace of the number of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved targeted therapies over the past 5 years, which reached 52 this year; the dramatic increase in the 5-year survival rate for all cancers in the United States, up from 49% in the 1970s to 68% in 2010; and the escalating cost of treating the disease, rising from nearly $125 billion in 2010 to an estimated $156 billion in 2020. The report also detailed how budget cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) have resulted in the NIH losing about 25% of its ability to fund biomedical research, jeopardizing continued progress in cancer research.
A national survey commissioned by the AACR on cancer and cancer research funding released along with the report found that 81% of Americans favor using taxpayer dollars to fund cancer research and that 74% of voters want increased funding for cancer research.
AACR Cancer Progress Report Findings
The AACR Cancer Progress Report emphasized the ongoing challenge of treating cancer, even as extraordinary advances in the disease are being made. Some of the report’s findings follow:
- Despite the number of cancer survivors in the United States—14.5 million—more than 589,000 Americans are projected to die from the disease this year.
- Cancer is the number-one cause of disease-related death among children in the United States.
- The number of new cases of cancer in the United States is projected to rise from 1.7 million in 2015 to 2.4 million in 2035.
- Between August 2014 and July 2015, the FDA approved nine new anticancer therapies, including four immunotherapies, and new uses for six previously approved anticancer therapeutics. During that time, one new cancer prevention vaccine and one new cancer-screening test received FDA approval, as did a previously approved imaging agent.
- The number of FDA-approved molecularly targeted anticancer therapeutics more than doubled over the past 5 years.
Key Survey Results on Cancer Research Funding
An AACR survey of 1,000 registered voters nationwide conducted by Hart Research Associates and Public Opinion Strategies has found that a majority of voters, 50% vs 10%, would be more likely to vote for a presidential or congressional candidate who supports sustained increases in federal funding for cancer research. In addition:
- A total of 85% of respondents said they recognize that progress is being made against cancer, but 61% said progress is not rapid enough.
- Among diseases and other major health issues, a majority of voters polled said they are most worried about getting cancer: 41%; followed by Alzheimer’s disease: 18%; heart disease: 15%; diabetes: 9%; obesity: 3%; HIV/AIDS: 2%; and all of them: 5%.
- A total of 88% of respondents said they know someone who has had cancer; and nearly half, 47%, said they have a close friend or family member who currently has cancer.
- A total of 75% of voters named increasing funding for medical research among their top priorities for Congress.
The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.