The findings were presented here at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.
The study also showed that that the longer people lived after their initial cancer diagnosis, the more likely they were to die from another disease. In the first five years of diagnosis, 33% of survivors died from a condition other than cancer compared with 63% after 20 years.
Also, people diagnosed with cancer at older ages were more likely to die from diseases other than cancer, Ning says.
Finding the Good in the Bad
"The good news is that people who are cured of their cancer are really cured," says Louis M. Weiner, MD, director of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C.
"The challenge is that people who have been through the crucible of cancer treatment and come out intact must pay more attention to other aspects of their health," he tells WebMD.
Ironically, that means taking many of the steps recommended to prevent cancer in the first place: Not smoking, getting regular physical activity, eating healthy foods, and limiting alcohol use, for example.
Weiner suggests cancer survivors take advantage of the many cancer survivorship networks available across the country.
These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.