Today is World Cancer Day: Why Multiple Myeloma Patients Should Care
Posted: Feb 04, 2020
Today is World Cancer Day: Why Multiple Myeloma Patients Should Care image

Today is World Cancer Day, an international day to raise awareness of cancer and to support its prevention, detection and treatment. 

According to the National Cancer Institute: 

  • In 2018, an estimated 1,735,350 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 609,640 people will die from the disease.
  • The most common cancers (listed in descending order according to estimated new cases in 2018) are breast cancer, lung and bronchus cancer, prostate cancer, colon and rectum cancer, melanoma of the skin, bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, kidney and renal pelvis cancer, endometrial cancer, leukemia, pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer, and liver cancer.
  • The number of new cases of cancer (cancer incidence) is 439.2 per 100,000 men and women per year (based on 2011–2015 cases).
  • The number of cancer deaths (cancer mortality) is 163.5 per 100,000 men and women per year (based on 2011–2015 deaths).
  • Cancer mortality is higher among men than women (196.8 per 100,000 men and 139.6 per 100,000 women). When comparing groups based on race/ethnicity and sex, cancer mortality is highest in African American men (239.9 per 100,000) and lowest in Asian/Pacific Islander women (88.3 per 100,000).
  • In 2016, there were an estimated 15.5 million cancer survivors in the United States. The number of cancer survivors is expected to increase to 20.3 million by 2026.
  • Approximately 38.4% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes (based on 2013–2015 data).

With improvements in healthcare and preventative care, people are generally living longer, so it is expected that cancer incidence will grow because people are not dying of other conditions like heart failure 

This nifty chart shows life expectancy by year. Notice the dramatic differences of additional years of life, even in a 40 time span - between 1980 and today. 

Because of this aging population. Sanofi today launched Cancer Grows Old (watch the video), a global movement to help address the challenges of cancer and aging identified by leaders in the cancer community. Through this multiyear initiative, they aim to continue to advance understanding in this critical area and drive action by uniting those best suited to advance comprehensive solutions for aging cancer patients and their families.   

Around the world, older people with cancer face a distinct set of challenges, and they need more support.

The Cancer Grows Old program will focus on four primary challenges that have been identified in our research and stakeholder discussions: The Patient Journey, Clinical Research & Evidence, Public Health Policy, and Patient-Centric Education. the goal is to give people living with cancer – in the United States and around the world – the best possible chance to grow old.

The Myeloma Crowd applauds their efforts. Multiple myeloma is a cancer that affects older people (typically). The average age at diagnosis is 69. Treatments need to be tailored to patients based on their fitness status and their ultimate treatment goals. Older patients need more support and education to empower them to self-advocate. For a generation who is used to more paternalistic forms of medicine, the influx of so many new myeloma treatments makes self-advocacy even more essential. 

The Myeloma Crowd is working hard to support all myeloma patients of every age and has created a unique platform called HealthTree University to teach key lessons about basics - like how to find a myeloma specialist, how to ask your doctor questions, how to build your healthcare team and how to become your best advocate. In general, the better you and your family members advocate for your care, The more you know about your cancer, the longer you will live because you are able to take daily action that can make a difference in your care. For your family members who are supporting you, it is equally important to learn these advocacy techniques. 

Please share this or other lessons about multiple myeloma today, World Cancer Day! 

The author Jennifer Ahlstrom

about the author
Jennifer Ahlstrom

Myeloma survivor, patient advocate, wife, mom of 6. Believer that patients can help accelerate a cure by weighing in and participating in clinical research. Founder of Myeloma Crowd by HealthTree and the HealthTree Foundation.

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