ATLANTA (AP) — The number of cancer survivors in the United States is increasing by hundreds of thousands a year, and now includes roughly one in 20 adults.

Health officials attribute the increase in part to earlier detection and better treatment. Demographics are a factor, too. Cancer is most common in people 65 and older, and the nation’s elderly population is growing.

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In a report released Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that in 2007 there were about 11.7 million Americans with a history of cancer.

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Forty years ago, there were about 3 million cancer survivors. That increased to 10 million in 2001 and to 11.4 million in 2006.

With the number of cancer survivors growing, the fear of cancer doesn’t end after treatment. More and more people are turning to groups, like We Spark, where free support and classes are offered to patients and their families.

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