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By Alexandra Sifferlin
March 12, 2015
TIME Health
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Two out of three Americans with invasive cancer—the kind that has spread to nearby healthy tissue—are living five years or more after diagnosis, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Data has shown that early detection and innovation in cancer treatment have increased the number of cancer survivors over the last several years, and the new report, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, shows that even patients with invasive cancer have encouraging survival rates.

To reach these numbers, CDC researchers looked at the number of cancer cases reported to U.S. cancer registries in 2011, the year of the most recently available data. That year saw 1,532,066 invasive cancer cases, or 451 cases per 100,000 people.

The CDC reports that the most common cancer sites were prostate, breast, lung, and colon and rectum. The five-year survival rates for those cancers came out to 97% for prostate cancer, 88% for breast cancer, 63% for colorectal cancer and 18% for lung cancer. While the rates were relatively even among men and women, racial disparities existed; 65% of white people had a five-year relative survival rate, and 60% of black people had the same.

In the report, the researchers say they hope public health experts use the data to determine what groups of people have higher rates of cancer and lower rates of survival. These groups may benefit most from cancer control efforts. “Using these data to effectively develop comprehensive cancer control programs, including supporting the needs of cancer survivors, can help reduce cancer incidence and improve survival,” the authors write.

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