Guest Blog by Edith McClelland.
According to the 2015 Cancer Facts & Figures, published by the American Cancer Society yearly, “Nearly 14.5 million Americans with a history of cancer were alive on January 1, 2014.” To put that number in perspective, the US government estimates the current population to be roughly 320,708,000 – though that number is increasing steadily. This means that about 22% of the current US population, or 1 in every 5 individuals, is either undergoing treatment for cancer, or is a survivor of cancer.
This 1 in 5 hits very close to home for me, as my mother is a survivor of skin cancer, and after years of fighting and countless health complications as a result, my grandmother died from breast cancer. Most people have a similar story – with one in five individuals being diagnosed, most people have a friend or family member who is fighting, or has fought, cancer.
For anyone who has ever participated in a Relay for Life, they often ask those who have survived to stand up, then ask those who have a friend of family member who has been diagnosed to stand up. Of the thousands of people in attendance, the number of people left sitting can typically be counted on one hand.
These numbers are admittedly a bit scary, but also a call to arms. If 1 in 5 of my friends, of my family members, of my workmates, are going to get cancer, I want to know that we’ve done everything we can, that I’ve done everything I can, to support research, which is making quantifiable improvements in survival rates with every year.
For more information, and to read the impressively thorough 2015 Cancer Facts & Figures, I highly recommend checking out www.cancer.org, home of the American Cancer Society.