More people are surviving cancer than ever before; Here’s why

People are surviving cancer now more than ever.

According to a report from the American Association for Cancer Research, there were 18 million cancer survivors as of January this year. That’s over a million more than there were three years ago.

Dr. Tamer Khashab, hematology oncologist with Kelsey-Seybold, said it’s thanks to lifesaving drugs and treatments.

“In the past decade, we’ve had major advancements in the way we treat cancer. Immunotherapies, which are antibodies that unlock the brakes of the immune system to fight cancer and we’re using them alone or in combination with chemotherapy,” said Dr. Khashab.

Plus, he said, we know ways to prevent cancer now.

Healthy lifestyles like avoiding too much sun, not smoking, getting enough sleep and healthy diets can help.

Preventative screenings are also critical.

“We can detect cancers at an earlier age or in a pre-cancerous stage so we can deal with it effectively,” Khashab explained.

Colorectal, prostate, and breast cancers should all be screened for starting in your forties, he said.

Someday, screenings may get even better and easier.

“I think we’re in an era where we’re probably going to be able to detect cancer even sooner with a blood test which will be able to find DNA of cancer before we can even detect them through our standard modalities,” Khashab said.

Also, according to cancer.gov, since the inception of the Moonshots program in 2016, there has been measurable progress in cancer survival rates.