Is U.S. prepared for rising cancer rates?

Cancer survivors
Breast cancer survivors on the field during the national anthem before a game between the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on Oct. 6, 2013, in Indianapolis, Ind.
Jonathan Moore/Getty Images

Cancer will soon surpass heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States, according to a new study from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

The number of new cases of cancer is expected to increase by 45 percent over the next 16 years, up to 2.3 million new cancer cases a year.

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Adding to the burden will be an increase in the number of cancer survivors. Fifty years ago, only a handful of "minimally effective" treatments for cancer existed, according to the report. Today, there are more than 170 FDA-approved anti-cancer drugs.

Two-thirds of Americans now live at least five years after a cancer diagnosis, up from about half in the 1970s, the report authors write. Survivors need ongoing care, as they're at higher risk for other types of cancer and conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis...

Taking these future patients into consideration, the oncology society expects demand for oncology services to grow 42% by 2030. Yet the number of oncologists is expected to grow only 28%, leading to a shortage of more than 1,400 physicians.

On The Daily Circuit, we talk to leading cancer experts about the causes and what America's healthcare system can do to prepare.

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