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More people living longer lives with cancer

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Posted at 11:05 AM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 13:44:33-04

This article is the part of a monthly series of stories focused on cancer issues. Denver7 is proud to partner with the American Cancer Society, Cancer Support Community, Colorado Cancer Coalition and Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HealthONE to bring you these stories, tips and resources.

DENVER — There are more than 17 million cancer survivors in the United States, a number that, thanks to better screenings and treatments, is expected to grow to 22 million within the next decade.

As those numbers grow, more people are learning how to live long, healthy lives with cancer.

Cancer support & survivorship services

The local cancer resources of HealthONE and Sarah Cannon are vast. They have created a large network of comprehensive cancer services allowing them to provide whole-person care and support close to home.

Through their survivorship program, they support patients and their families throughout their cancer journeys. To do this, they offer a wide range of complementary cancer resources and services, including:

Living with cancer

The word “survivor” means different things to different people. Some people diagnosed with cancer prefer the term “survivor,” while others prefer a word like “warrior.” No matter the preference, being a survivor means taking an active, positive role in one's own care.

The Cancer Support Community has three tips navigating survivorship. Read these tips in detail, and with inspiration from cancer survivors, on the Cancer Support Community blog.

Reducing cancer risks

There are several things that can be done to reduce the risks for many types of cancers.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund, about 20% of cancers diagnosed in the United States are related to poor nutrition and physical inactivity. The American Cancer Society Guidelines for Nutrition and Physical Activity encourage people of all ages to be active throughout each week and to consume vegetables, fruit and whole grains. The American Cancer Society has more information on being healthy and incorporating healthy habits into your routine on their website.

Following recommended cancer screenings is another way to help detect cancer early before it spreads. The American Cancer Society has guidelines for various cancer screenings based on age. It’s important to also know family history and share that information with physicians.

Staying away from tobacco is another component to good health. Once someone quits tobacco, the effects can be noticeable right away. Heart rate and blood pressure drop 20 minutes after quitting. Circulation and lung function improve within two weeks to three months after quitting. Around one year after quitting, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half of that of someone who stills smokes. Quitting can be challenging and the American Cancer Society can help. For resources visit cancer.org or call 1-800-227-2345.

Protection from the sun, no matter what the season, is also important. Most skin cancers are caused by increased exposure to ultraviolet rays. A lot of that exposure comes from the sun, which is why it’s important to protect the skin. Wearing sunscreen and protective clothing along with wearing a hat and sunglasses can help limit exposure. For more information visit the American Cancer Society's Be Safe in Sun page.

  1. Develop a survivorship care plan to help you and your loved ones.
  2. Connect with others like you.
  3. Make good nutrition an important part of your care beyond cancer treatment.