- Chris Morris
- Aug 4, 2016
- 4397 Views
Macmillan Cancer Support data indicates that survival rates for cancer in the UK have improved considerably over the last few decades.
According to the authoritative charity, over 170,000 people suffering with cancer over the last 40 years are still alive.
This means that people are twice as likely to survive for at least 10 years after being diagnosed with cancer than just four decades ago.
Both the better treatment and expedient diagnoses have contributed to this phenomenon.
Nell Barrie, of Cancer Research UK, welcomed the “huge progress” in improving cancer survival but stressed it was important to continue focusing on “world-leading science to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment, especially for the harder-to-treat cancers like lung, brain and pancreatic cancer”.
However, despite the positive picture that this data suggests, Macmillan believes that cancer sufferers are still struggling with the physical, emotional and financial impact of cancer diagnosis and treatment without satisfactory assistance.
A review conducted by the charity indicates that over one-quarter of cancer sufferers will require long-term support.
Prof Jane Maher, chief medical officer at Macmillan Cancer Support, believes that serious progress is being made on the debilitating condition of cancer, and that the quality of life and survival rates for sufferers are improving as a result.
“We now see fewer of the big side-effects, such as an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, we saw after treatment in the 1970s and 80s. But some of the effects doctors consider ‘small’, such as fatigue and poor bowel control, can have a profound impact on someone’s quality of life. Sadly there is no cancer treatment available at the moment that does not carry a risk of side-effects.”
The charity notes that an increasing number of people are surviving long-term, even those suffering from the most serious forms of cancer, but believe that finance should be invested to ensure that they receive the appropriate quality of care.
In response, the government is planning to introduce tailored recovery packages, with the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt noting the progress made by Macmillan, and the contribution that the government can make to this issue.
“The fact that more people are surviving cancer is excellent news, due in no small part to the work of NHS staff who carry out the diagnosis, treatment and care to help patients beat the disease. To help, we announced last year that by 2020 people diagnosed with cancer in England will benefit from an individually tailored recovery package. This was originally developed by Macmillan Cancer Support, and I would like to pay tribute to the charity’s enormous effort in this area over many years.”
There were around 163,000 cancer deaths in the UK in 2014.
Lung, bowel, breast and prostate cancers together accounted for almost half of all cancer deaths.