TYLER (KYTX): Numbers released by the American Cancer Society show that more people are surviving cancer.
The society expects 19 million survivors in the U.S. by 2024.
Some survivors say they have a secret weapon.
Bonnie Scott was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001 and underwent surgery and radiation.
"I've been doing well since then, no recurrence, thank the lord," says Scott.
Scott had just moved to East Texas and found a group of friends in a place she never imagined, the hospital.
"I made some of the best friends that I ever had because we're all drawn together by the same occurrence, cancer. It's not a good thing but I felt very blessed to have made that journey and have gotten to know all these other wonderful people I would never have known if I hadn't had cancer," says Scott.
Blas Caroprese of the ETMC cancer institute says new technology coupled with support groups is increasing the survival rate here in East Texas.
"We have improved in technology and the technology that we used allows us to treat cancers that before we weren't able to treat," says Caroprese.
At the ETMC Cancer Institute, both patients and staff say that the one thing you must have to survive cancer is a positive attitude.
"Just get out there, live your life, cancer may be part of your life but it's not the overall thing that you should concentrate on," says Scott.
Scott says some cancer patients are hesitant to join the group but she gives the organization credit for her survival.
"They may think it's going to be a pity party or something but it isn't, it's really a positive group of people. We're all here to help other people as they go through the journey," says Scott.
The American Cancer Society attributes the survival rate increase to early detection and new technology but Scott says that a positive attitude will always help.
If you're interested in joining ETMC's support group, they meet on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month from noon to 1 pm.