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Cancer Survivorship and the Family

  • By: Rana Limbo & Mitch Golant
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

A cancer survivor is defined as a person living with, through, and beyond cancer. However, cancer is a disease that affects not just the patient but the entire family, and the needs of the family will only grow over time. The National Cancer Institute estimates that the number of people diagnosed with the disease annually will double in the next 50 years from 1.4 to 2.6 million. Early diagnosis, enhanced patient care, and survival rates for cancer patients have improved significantly over the past 10 years. In fact, 5-year survival rates are increasing. The majority of those diagnosed with cancer (approaching 70%) can expect to be alive in 5 years.

Despite these laudable gains, the pressure on family caregivers of these patients (and especially the ...

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