Blood cancer survival rates rising fastest
There was a time David Mitchell didn’t believe he would survive until his 50th birthday. But he reached that milestone earlier this year, thanks to a life-saving stem cell transplant to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
“They basically said, ‘Yup, there is zero sign of cancer anywhere,”’ the Ottawa resident recalls of a checkup that followed previous failed rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. “It was astounding.”
Today, the Canadian Cancer Society says Mitchell can count himself among the growing number of people who are surviving blood cancer due to precision medicine – treatments based on a person’s genes or other unique features of the cancer the person has.
New statistics released Wednesday suggest the survival rate for blood cancers is outpacing the survival rate of any other cancer.
The overall survival rates have improved to 63 per cent – up eight percentage points since the early 1990s.
But the most gains have been among common blood cancers, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma and leukemia.
The survival rate for these cancers increased 16 to 19 percentage points.