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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Trends in Radiation Therapy among Cancer Survivors in the United States, 2000-2030.

  • Author(s): Bryant, Alex K
  • Banegas, Matthew P
  • Martinez, Maria Elena
  • Mell, Loren K
  • Murphy, James D
  • et al.

Background: Although the number of cancer survivors has increased substantially over the past several decades, the composition of survivors treated with radiotherapy is not well defined. Radiotherapy carries unique long-term toxicity risks for cancer survivors. This study describes the current estimates and future projections of the epidemiology of 5-year cancer survivors who receive radiation therapy.Methods: We used cancer incidence and survival data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End-Results (SEER) database linked to U.S. Census data to estimate the number of 5-year cancer survivors treated with radiation between 2000 and 2030. Future projections assumed continuing incidence and survival trends based on historical rates.Results: In 2016, there were an estimated 3.05 million cancer survivors treated with radiation, accounting for 29% of all cancer survivors. The number of radiation-treated cancer survivors is projected to reach 3.38 million by 2020 and 4.17 million by 2030. In 2016, breast (40%) and prostate cancer (23%) composed the majority of radiation-treated survivors, followed by head and neck cancer (5.8%), lymphoma (5.6%), uterine (3.9%), and rectal cancer (3.8%). The percentage of 70 years or older radiation-treated survivors steadily increased between 2000 and 2030.Conclusions: The next several years are projected to see a large increase in the number of cancer survivors treated with radiation.Impact: This group of cancer survivors has unique needs given the long-term risks of radiation, and increased research and awareness are required to optimize health of this growing population. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev; 26(6); 963-70. ©2017 AACR.

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