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U.S. cancer survival rates on the rise

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 27 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 28 2013 05:08:16 AM CDT

In 2007 Stacey Kemmerer's life changed forever when she found a lump in her breast.

In 2007 Stacey Kemmerer's life changed forever when she found a lump in her breast.

"He told me that I did have breast cancer and that it was stage I to II based on the size of the tumor," she explained.

Over the next year, the mother of two went through surgery, aggressive treatments of chemo and 33 rounds of radiation.

"I remember looking at him and saying am I going to live, and he says you're going to live a very long time," shared Stacey. "I just felt so relieved."

Stories like Stacey's are now becoming even more common. There are nearly 14-million cancer survivors in the U.S., and a new report from the American Association for Cancer Research predicts that number will swell to 18-million in just 10 years.

"I think there's been both better prevention, better early detection as well as better treatments once patients are diagnosed," added Lehigh Valley Health Network's Senior Medical Director of Research for Cancer Program Dr. Suresh Nair.

But survival rates are not the same across different types of cancer. Breast, prostate and ovarian are three of the bright spots.

"The survival for all three of these cancers is increasing," added Nair.

The scientists estimate women with breast cancer will make up 22% of cancer survivors in coming decades.

"He said that my cancer had spread to my bones," said Stacey. "It was stage IV breast cancer."

Sadly, in 2010 Stacey's cancer metastasized. After going through more radiation she's now managing the disease with drugs.

"I live with it daily so I am surviving it, absolutely I am, and I am trying to fight it," she said. "I wish it was gone, I wish I could say I'm cancer free, that's what I really wish."