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A Message from the National Cancer Institute

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Dr. Lowy and Dr. Croyleby Douglas R. Lowy, MD, Acting Director, National Cancer Institute,
and Robert T. Croyle, PhD, Director, NCI Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences

 

We are honored to once again welcome you to the 29th annual National Cancer Survivors Day®. On this occasion, we celebrate the millions of Americans who are cancer survivors. We honor these patients and survivors, as well as their family members, health care providers, and friends.

As part of the leadership team of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), we also commend the tireless efforts of the researchers who are working to find new and better ways to control and treat cancer more effectively and safely. This is a vitally important task. Although more and more cancer survivors will return to active and productive lives following their cancer diagnosis, for many of them, the long-term physical, psychological, and social effects of cancer and its treatments remain serious and challenging. Recognizing this, survivorship research remains a key component of NCI’s research portfolio.

The number of people living after a cancer diagnosis and treatment in the United States increased from 7 million in 1992 to 15.5 million in 2016, and is expected to rise to more than 20 million by 2026. Thus, whereas cancer survivors accounted for about 2.5 percent of the U.S. population in 1992, it is estimated that they will account for more than 5 percent of the population in 2026.

NCI-supported researchers agree that, as any cancer survivor will tell you, cancer is not ‘over’ when treatment ends; cancer has the capacity to affect all aspects of survivors’ lives, effects that can have profound and lasting import on their psychological and social health. Looking to the future, we are going to see growing efforts to find targeted and tailored cancer therapies that have the best chance of curing the illness, with the least toxicity to the survivor.  

Key aspects of our understanding of and approach to cancer have been transformed based on years of investment in biomedical research. These efforts have been bolstered by the President’s new National Cancer Moonshot Initiative to make the most of Federal investments, targeted incentives, private sector efforts from industry and philanthropy, patient engagement initiatives, and other mechanisms to support cancer research and enable progress in treatment and care.

When we speak with leading cancer researchers in the United States and around the world, we hear unprecedented optimism that we are on the verge of pivotal advances in oncology. So today, as we honor the courage of all cancer survivors, we do so with a renewed hope and determination. We remain committed to changing the meaning of a diagnosis of cancer for all people.