Approximately one in every 20 adults in the United States has survived cancer according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and National Cancer Institute.
"We're screening and being able to detect early especially those three cancers: breast, prostate and colon. What do they have in common: they all have very good screening," says Dr. James Hotz, Medical Director for the Southwest Georgia Cancer Coalition.
Female breast cancer made up 22 percent of the survivors, prostate made up 19.4 percent and there were 9.5 percent colorectal cancer survivors, according to the CDC numbers.
The statistics show the number of cancer survivors increased close to 20 percent in just six years. Approximately 65 percent of cancer survivors live five years after they're diagnosed, 40 percent live 10 years or more and nearly 10 percent live 25 years or longer.
Hotz says, "What we do know is that there's a cohort of people out there probably 12 million who have been tapped on the shoulder when they least expect it and say 'Your life has been changed. The question comes back, well, what are you going to do about it?'"
He says with this many people surviving cancer, they should be spreading the word to their families about having a healthy lifestyle.
"The article basically says that if you are overweight and not exercising, start doing it because they reduce your likelihood of having it come back and also you're going to be more likely to have it taken care of," says Hotz. He says those who have had bladder or lung cancer should also stop smoking and encourage others to do the same.
Hotz has first-hand experiences with cancer: His brother and father passed away from cancer. He says survivors have a responsibility to pass along advice to family around them and spread positive reinforcement.
"I had a chance to eat supper with him and I said, 'How does a 25 year old kid decide to start a foundation decide when they have testicular cancer and your chance of living is less that 50%, how in the world do you number one start this foundation and number two how do you train and set a goal like win the Tour de France which you've never won before?' He says when he went on his nine hour rides he took with him ten million cancer survivors and what his message was cancer may kill you but never let it take away your dream," Hotz says.