Cancer Facts

Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells.

Regular screening examinations by a health care professional can result in the detection and removal of precancerous growths, as well as the diagnosis of cancers at an early stage, when they are most treatable.

Cancers that can be prevented by removal of precancerous tissue include cancers of the cervix, colon, and rectum. Cancers that can be diagnosed early through screening include cancers of the breast, colon, rectum, cervix, prostate, oral cavity, and skin. For cancers of the breast, colon, rectum, and cervix, early detection has been proven to reduce mortality.  Cancers that can be prevented or detected earlier by screening account for at least half of all new cancer cases. 

About 77% of all cancers are diagnosed in persons 55 years and older.

About 1.6 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2012.  More than 22 million new cancer cases have been diagnosed since 1990.

One of every two men and one of every three women will get cancer in their lifetimes.

About 577,000 Americans are expected to die of cancer in 2012 – that is more than 1,500 people per day.  In the United States, cancer is the second leading cause of death, responsible for 1 in 4 deaths.

The number of new cancer patients is expected to double to 2.6 million by the year 2050.  This number could further increase if the trends for cancers that are increasing are not reversed.

The Good News

The National Cancer Institute estimates that approximately 12 million Americans with a history of cancer were alive in January 2008.

The 5-year relative survival rate for female breast cancer patients has improved from 63% in the early 1960s to 90% today.

For all childhood cancers combined, the 5-year relative survival rate has improved markedly over the past 30 years, from less than 50% before the 1970′s to 83% today, due to new and improved treatments.

V Foundation Facts

The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary NC State basketball coach and ESPN commentator.

The V Foundation awards 100 percent of direct cash donations and pledges directly to cancer research.

The Foundation awards grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Committee comprised of some of the nation’s top doctors and scientists.

The V Foundation has awarded more than $115 million, used to fund 540 cancer research grants nationwide.

The Foundation has awarded grants to more than 120 institutions in 38 states and the District of Columbia.

[Cancer facts courtesy of “Cancer Facts & Figures 2012” by the American Cancer Society.]