Date Published: 29 April 2014

Recent statistics indicate that 50% of all cancer patients survive at least 10 years

Statistics recently made available by Cancer Research UK indicate that half (50%) of the people medically diagnosed with cancer in Britain today will survive for at least 10 years. This stands in contrast to the statistical situation in the early 1970s, when only 25% of people diagnosed with cancer survived 10 years. Cancer Research UK aims to accelerate progress in terms of increased average survival times and has stated it's ambition that 75% of all cancer patients diagnosed in 20 years' time will survive at least 10 years.

The cancer survival statistics on which the recent report was based flow from analysis of the survival of in excess of 7 million cancer patients diagnosed in England and Wales since the 1970s. Statistics concerning specific types of cancer include the following:

  • Breast Cancer: Today, women with breast cancer are said to have a 78% chance of surviving at least 10 years, which is much higher than the 40% chance that applied 40 years ago.
  • Testicular Cancer: Ten-year survival for men with testicular cancer has increased from 69% to 98% since the 1970s
  • Skin Cancer: People diagnosed with malignant melanoma, which is deemed to be the most serious form of skin cancer, 10-year survival has increased from 46% to 89%.
  • Pancreatic Cancer: Only 1% of pancreatic cancer patients diagnosed today are expected to survive 10 years according to these medical statistics.
  • Lung Cancer: Only 5% of lung cancer patients diagnosed today are expected to survive 10 years according to these medical statistics.
  • Oesophageal Cancer: Ten-year survival from oesophageal cancer is still only 12%, which is an improvement over the 4% ten-year survival rate of 40 years ago.
  • Brain cancer: Similarly, ten-year survival for brain tumour patients is only 13%, having more than doubled over the last 40 years.

Cancer Research UK stated that saving more lives from all cancers, including those that are hard to treat, is the overriding focus of its newly launched strategy. According to the charity, ensuring that cancer patients are diagnosed at the earliest possible stage of their disease, when treatment is more likely to be successful, is a priority. It plans to fund more scientists from different disciplines because collaboration is thought to be important for transferring discoveries from the laboratory into the clinic to enable patients to benefit as soon as possible.

Professor Michel Coleman, head of Cancer Research UK's Cancer Survival Group at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, whose team produced the survival figures, said:

" These results come from detailed analysis of the survival of more than 7 million cancer patients diagnosed in England and Wales since the 1970s. They show just how far we've come in improving cancer survival, but they also shine a spotlight on areas where much more needs to be done.
_ We want to see people with every type of cancer get the same chances of living a long life. This won't be easy, but the progress reported here over the last 40 years shows we're moving in the right direction."

Dr Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said:

" Every year, tens of thousands more people are surviving cancer a decade after diagnosis, showing that we're gradually reversing the tide on this devastating disease. This is thanks to the work of our scientists and doctors, but none of it would be possible without the generosity of the British public, whose donations we rely on to fund all our research.
_ But each year more and more people are diagnosed with cancer. We believe no one should be diagnosed too late for their life to be saved and effective treatments should be available to every patient, no matter what type of cancer they have.
_ Achieving our ambition to see three-quarters of all cancer patients surviving their disease in the next 20 years will be challenging. But with the continued commitment of our scientists, doctors and nurses and the generous support of the British public, we hope to see our progress accelerate over the coming years to make this a reality."

Main source: Cancer Research UK

Also in the News:

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Chemotherapy after surgery might improve cancer survival - 11 Jul '12

Ovarian cancer and p53, carboplatin and paclitaxel - 6 Jun '11

Survivors of childhood cancers at increased risk of other cancers later in life - 4 Jun '11

Late diagnosis of breast cancer in elderly women (UK) - 16 Feb '11

Irish Cancer Society - Lung Cancer Awareness Campaign - 12 Jan '11

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