Over 170,000 Cancer Sufferers Alive 40 Years Later Data Shows

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.

 
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New Cancer Study Underlines the Importance of Early Diagnosis

A new study indicates that an alarmingly high number of cancer patients in London A&E departments pass away rapidly.

Research presented at the National Cancer Research Institute cancer conference in Liverpool found that over one-quarter of such patients died within two months.

The experts conducting the survey discovered that people diagnosed in emergency conditions tended to suffer from cancers that have spread significantly around the body.

Additionally, there was also a strong correlation in the research with forms of cancer that are generally harder to treat.

In order to drop these conclusions, researchers analysed data from nearly 1,000 patients.

The individuals examined were diagnosed at 12 A&E departments in north-east and central London and west Essex during 2013.

According to the research, it is reasonable to expect the average survival rates for accident and emergency-related cancers to be in the region of six months.

Indeed, only 36 per cent of the patients assessed by the survey were still alive one year after being diagnosed.

The study also suggested that younger patients were considerably more likely to survive than older individuals.

Half of patients under the age of 65 had died after 14 months, while 50 per cent of 65 to 75 year olds died within five months of the study beginning.

Only a quarter of elderly patients were able to live beyond one year. For those aged over 75, half died within three months.

Professor Kathy Pritchard-Jones, the study’s lead author, commented on the findings, particularly emphasising the importance of diagnosis in the fight against cancer.

“These shocking figures hammer home what we already know to be true: early diagnosis can make a huge difference in your chances of surviving cancer. Around a quarter of all cancer cases are being diagnosed following presentation in A&E and the vast majority of these are already at a late stage, when treatment options are limited and survival is poorer. And many of the patients diagnosed through A&E have other health conditions that may complicate their treatment.”

This latest research follows efforts carried out by scientists at Oxford University earlier this year.

The study from the infamous UK academic institution found that other countries with a similar health approach to the United Kingdom had GPs which were more likely to refer patients for urgent tests.

This assisted survival rates, and this impression has now been further reinforced by this latest research.

Earlier this year, another study found that Britain has the worst cancer survival rate in Western Europe.

 
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Study Suggests UK is World Beater in End of Life Care

The quality of end of life care in the United Kingdom has been ranked as the very best in the world in a recent study.

A report conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit was hugely complimentary regarding the quality and availability of such services within the UK.

The study examined 80 countries worldwide, and particularly praised the NHS and hospice movement within the UK, describing the quality of care in the country as “second to none”.

As would perhaps be expected, developed economies generally performed well in the study.

Australia and New Zealand ranked second and third in the report, but there was also some encouraging news for developing economies and the third world.

The Economist Intelligence Unit found that the quality of care in some of the poorest nations on the planet had improved considerably, with African nations ranking surprisingly highly in the study.

Mongolia was rated as highly as 28th by the Economist Intelligence Unit, with its investment in hospice facilities considered particularly important.

Meanwhile, Uganda, ranked 35th in the report, has managed to improve access to pain control through a public-private partnership.

Rankings in the study were calculated by utilising assessments of the quality of hospitals and hospice environments.

In particular, the Economist Intelligence Unit assessed  staffing numbers and skills, affordability of care and quality of care.

And although the results related to Britain were encouraging, the overall picture was rather disturbing for the quality of end of life care worldwide.

Less than 50 per cent of the countries survey provided what the report classed as a good end of life care, with only 34 of the 80 countries reported on considered to be adequate.

Not only was this a relatively paltry number in terms of total nations, but the percentage of the global population that they represented was even smaller.

The 34 nations considered to be good in terms of end of life care only accounted for approximately 15 per cent of the adult population.

Yet despite the relatively poor level of end of life care indicated by the study, the report in fact suggested that this aspect of healthcare is becoming increasingly important.

An ageing population ensures that people around the world are increasingly facing “drawn-out” deaths.

Already there have been a demographic problems with greying populations in such countries as Japan and Germany, and this trend is expected to accelerate and encompass the rest of the developed world in the coming decades.

Report author Annie Pannelay praise the quality of end of life care in the UK, but also suggested that there is still room for improvement.

“The UK is an acknowledged leader in palliative care. That reflects its comprehensive strategy towards the issue as well as the improvements that are being made. But there is more that the UK could do to stay at the forefront of palliative care standards, such as ironing out occasional problems with communication or symptom control,” Pannelay commented.

 
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Despite Government Measures, Alcohol-Related Deaths Rise in Scotland

Despite efforts to promote awareness of responsible alcohol usage, new figures indicate that the number of alcohol-related deaths in Scotland has increased over the last twelve months.

The Daily Record reported on figures from the National Records of Scotland which indicated that there were 1,152 alcohol-related deaths in Scotland during 2014; a 5 percent increase on the previous year.

Previous research has indicated that Scots are the most likely among UK residents to engage in dangerous binge drinking.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 36 percent of Scots confessed to binge drinking in a 2013 survey; a larger proportion than in any other region of Britain.

And Scotland was placed eight on the so-called ‘alcohol consumption world league table’ back in 2009.

Statistics published by the World Health Organization at that time indicated that nearly 50 million litres of pure alcohol were consumed in Scotland in 2007. This placed the nation above Spain, Italy and France in terms of pure alcohol consumption.

Commenting on the publicised alcohol-related deaths in Scotland, Public Health Minister Maureen Watt struck a cautious note, indicating that the figures were worrying but should be seen in a wider context of a decline in alcohol consumption in Scotland.

“This increase in alcohol-related deaths is disappointing, particularly given the decreasing trend we have seen in recent years,” Watt stated.

But the Health Minister also made it clear that the country has a lot of work to do in order to eradicate problem drinking, or at least reduce it to an acceptable level.

“Alcohol deaths in Scotland are almost double those in the early 1990s. The five per cent increase in 2014, following a two per cent rise the previous year, shows that even though significant progress has been made since 2006 far more needs to be done,” Watt opined.

Watt added that the government has attempted to introduce measures to discourage binge drinking, stating that the alcohol framework put in place by the Scottish government consist of over 40 measures.

These are intended to reduce consumption, support families and communities, promote positive attitudes and positive choices, and improve treatment and support services.

Watt also suggested that availability and pricing played a major role in problem drinking, and this view was echoed by chair of BMA Scotland Dr Peter Bennie.

“The Scottish Government has made great strides to introduce a comprehensive alcohol strategy, but it will inevitably be less effective without measures to deal with the affordability of alcohol and the proliferation of cheap, high strength alcohol that fuels heavy drinking and causes the greatest harm,” Bennie asserted.

 
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