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Cancer in 2015

In this section you will learn:

I​n the United States, overall cancer death rates are decreasing, and the number of survivors is increasing.

It is projected that more than 1.65 million people in the United States will receive a cancer diagnosis, and more than 589,000 will die from the disease in 2015.

It is predicted that almost 2.4 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States, and 24 million will be diagnosed globally in 2035.

Not all segments of the U.S. population benefit equally from advances against cancer.

The cost of cancer is immense, both in the United States and globally.

Progress Against Cancer: Powered by Research
Research improves survival and quality of life for millions of individuals around the world by catalyzing the development and implementation of new and better ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, treat, and cure some of these diseases that we call cancer.

It takes many years of hard work by individuals from all segments of the biomedical research community to bring a new medical product from initial research discovery through approval by regulatory agencies and into the clinic (see sidebar on The Biomedical Research Community). Among the new medical products approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between Aug. 1, 2014, and July 31, 2015, were nine new anticancer therapeutics, one new cancer prevention vaccine, and one new cancer screening test (see Table 1). During this period, the FDA also approved new uses for six previously approved anticancer therapeutics and one imaging agent.

Advances such as those listed in Table 1 help ensure that, year after year, overall U.S. cancer death rates continue to decrease (2) and that the number of people who survive their cancer continues to rise. In fact, in the United States alone, the percentage of the population living with, through, or beyond a cancer diagnosis has more than tripled since 1971 (3-5). 

The significant progress that has been and continues to be made against cancer is the result of investments from governments, philanthropic individuals and organizations, and the private sector the world over. In the United States, federal investments in biomedical research, cancer research, and the FDA are of particular importance. The majority of U.S. federal investments in biomedical research are administered through the 27 component institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the largest of which is the National Cancer Institute (NCI) (see sidebar on The National Institutes of Health by the Numbers​). Continued progress against cancer requires robust, sustained, and predictable growth in funding of lifesaving biomedical research from all sources.