29/04/2014

50% Of People Diagnosed With Cancer Survive For At Least 10 Years

Fifty per cent of people diagnosed with cancer today will survive their disease for at least 10 years, according to landmark figures published by Cancer Research UK today.

"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," Dr Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive.

In the early 1970s, just a quarter of people diagnosed with cancer survived 10 years.

Today, Cancer Research UK sets out an ambitious new strategy to accelerate progress with the ambition that three-quarters (75%) of all cancer patients diagnosed in 20 years time will survive at least 10 years.

Women with breast cancer now have a 78% chance of surviving at least a decade, compared to only 40% 40 years ago.

Ten-year survival rates for men with testicular cancer has jumped from 69 to 98% since the 1970s and, for people diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, 10-year survival has leapt from 46 to 89%.

But it's not all good news. Just 1% of pancreatic cancer patients and 5% of lung cancer patients diagnosed today are expected to survive 10 years. Cancer Research UK has worked to increase research into these cancers but change has been slower than hoped – which is why a renewed focus is needed to make faster progress.

Survival from oesophageal cancer is still far too low at 12%, although 40 years ago it languished at around 4%. Brain tumour survival is also very low at just 13%, despite more than doubling in the last 40 years.

Saving more lives from all cancers, including those that are hard to treat, is the overriding focus of Cancer Research UK's new strategy, launched today. The strategy details a raft of measures aimed at accelerating the speed of progress.

Ensuring cancer patients are diagnosed at the earliest possible stage of their disease, when treatment is more likely to be successful, is a key priority for the charity. And it plans to fund more scientists from different disciplines because collaboration is key to moving discoveries from the laboratory into the clinic to make sure patients will benefit sooner.

(CD/JP)

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