- Chris Morris
- Feb 21, 2016
- 3251 Views
Research from a major cancer charity indicates that the number of people contracting the deadly condition is increasing in the UK.
Cancer Research UK suggests that more than 352,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK each year, which represents a 12% increase over the same figure for the mid-1990s.
The latest figures have been collated by the charity as it assesses the position of treatment of cancer in Britain.
Between 2011 and 2013, there were 603 cases diagnosed for every 100,000 Britons, compared with 540 in 1993-95 – when there were 253,000 diagnoses a year.
Although the figures may be worrying for health bosses, it must be said in mitigation that the numbers could be considered somewhat misleading.
While a variety of factors could contribute to this phenomenon, it is likely that ageing and the growing population are the major causes.
And although the chances of contracting cancer have seemingly increased, the chances of any individual surviving the deadly condition have similarly expanded as well.
More accurate tests, better treatments and earlier diagnosis all mean that the process of the treating cancer has improved considerably.
However, it is wrong to view cancer as a singular condition, and the survival rates for numerous strains of the disease remain extremely low.
More needs to be done to tackle survival rates for lung, pancreatic and oesophageal cancer as they tend to be diagnosed at a later stage when they are harder to treat, the report argues.
Commenting on the issue, Nick Ormiston-Smith, Cancer Research UK’s head of statistical information, reflected on the figures, and outlined some of the issues that help explain them.
“People are living longer so more people are getting cancer. But the good news is more people are surviving their cancer. There is still a huge variation in survival between different cancer types and there’s a lot of work to do to reach Cancer Research UK’s ambition for three in four patients to survive their disease by 2034.”
Prof Peter Johnson, also from Cancer Research UK, emphasised the importance of lifestyle factors, and encouraged the general population to lead a healthier existence in order to diminish their chances of contracting cancer.
“People often think cancer is down to their genes or just bad luck. Although genes do play a role there are still many things people can do to reduce their cancer risk. The most important is not to smoke. Most people know smoking causes lung cancer, but it is also linked to at least 13 other types. We also know that maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising and eating a healthy balanced diet is important.”