There will be nearly 2.4 million new cases of cancer in the U.S. by 2035, according to an estimate from the American Association for Cancer Research.
In its Cancer Progress Report 2015, AACR notes that new cases in the current year are estimated at nearly 1.7 million.
“Given that cancer is primarily a disease of aging and that the portion of the U.S. population age 65 and older is expected to double in size by 2060, it is anticipated that the number of new cancer cases diagnosed each year in the United States will increase dramatically,” the report states.
“Also contributing to the projected increase are the continual use of cigarettes by 18% of U.S. adults, and high rates of obesity and physical inactivity, both of which are linked to an increased risk for several types of cancer.”
The spike in new cases comes as death rates are trending downward. From 2002 to 2011, overall cancer death rates declined per year by 1.8% for U.S. men, 1.4% for U.S. women, and 2.1% for 0- to 19-year-olds, though the overall number of cancer deaths is expected to rise. Nearly 600,000 people living in the United States are expected to die from cancer in 2015.
The new diagnoses are expected to drive up the cost of cancer.
“In the United States alone, it is estimated that the direct medical costs of cancer care will rise to $156 billion in 2020, from nearly $125 billion in 2010,” AACR says in the report. “When these costs are compared to the total NCI budget for fiscal year 2015, which is just $5 billion, it is clear that research that spurs lifesaving progress against cancer is a wise national investment.”
To that end, AACR is calling on Congress and the White House to boost funding for both the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute by at least 7%, which would result in funding levels in fiscal year 2020 for NIH and NCI of $42.5 billion and $7 billion, respectively. AACR is also calling for a similar 7% increase the Food and Drug Administration’s budget to help drive private biomedical research.