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US cancer survival rate expected to increase

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Good news for South Georgians with cancer, the likelihood of surviving is increasing.

A new report from the American Association for Cancer Research shows the number of survivors is expected to surge by 31% in less than 10 years.

As Belinda Poole helps raise money for this year's Relay for Life Wednesday evening, she knows what it means to beat the odds.

Poole was diagnosed with cervical cancer in November 2011.  She had surgery and treatment and is now cancer free.

"After you get over that initial shock, know that you can survive it. I never actually thought I was going to die from it. I never thought that," said Poole.

Poole in just one of millions of cancer survivors in the US and according to a report by the American Association for Cancer Research there will be 18 million survivors by 2022.

"That's amazing to me. We've truly come a long way with cancer. The surgeries, treatments for it, we have honestly come a long way and it's truly amazing the survivor rate is going up the way it is," said Poole.

"There are so many cancers survivors around us these days that are doing well, living productive lives and we know it's not an automatic death sentence," said Cancer Coalition of South Georgia President Denise Ballard.

The study credits a growing and aging population along with early detection and treatment advances, but there may be a flipside.

The study estimates the cost of cancer care will increase by 27% by 2020 and it also leaves question about life after treatment.

"While it's very good news that we're going to see more older people with who have experienced cancer at some point in their lifetime, there's still a lot of opportunities and a lot of challenges related to research about how to take care of these people when they start experience some of these long term effects of treatment," said Ballard.

But for now, survivors like Poole are encouraging people with cancer not to give up.

"I would really hope that people would realize it's not a death sentence and you can survive it," said Poole.

Ballard says the best ways to remain cancer free are to eat healthy, exercise and don't smoke.

 

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