Cancer survivors up to 18 million by 2022

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Good news for cancer patients, as survival rates in the United States are expected to rise to 18 million by 2022 according to the American Cancer Society.

As of January of 2012, there are roughly 13½ million cancer survivors nationwide. Community representative with the American Cancer Society in Northeast Arkansas, Jackie Wallis said their goal with ACS is to raise money for cancer research so that they can celebrate more people beating the deadly disease.

"That's what we want to hear, more and more success stories. And every day we have more and more survivors," Wallis said.

However, some survivors wind up facing more problems down the road.

" of the long term side effects of certain kinds of chemotherapy might not be seen until years after the treatment," Oncologist Mazen Khalil said.

Side effects like acute leukemia and myelodisplastic syndrome that don't usually show up until five to ten years after chemotherapy treatments.

According to the National Institute of Health, of the 18,000 Americans diagnosed with MDS each year, more than 300 of those have it as result of prior chemotherapy treatment.

Dr. Khalil said oftentimes, it's more difficult to treat patients who develop those problems if they develop them because of chemotherapy.

"Although it might be more difficult to treat, but it's still treatable and potentially still could be curable," Dr. Khalil said. He added that these are just possible side effects and they shouldn't deter any cancer patients from taking chemotherapy treatments.

"The benefit from treatment of cancer outweigh the risk of having this rare, long-term side effect," he said.

Wallis told Region 8 News that these higher survival rates should serve as hope for anyone dealing with cancer.

"It's not an easy journey...but it's a beatable journey, and one that has a light at the end of the tunnel," Wallis said.

According to the American Cancer Society, 44 Arkansans are diagnosed with cancer every day. For more information about cancer, you can call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.

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