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Testicular cancer patients living longer than ever

The majority of men with testicular cancer are now surviving for much longer than ever before.

Figures released by Cancer Research UK showed that survival rates in the UK soared to 96% in 2009, much higher than in the early 70’s when a lesser proportion of testicular cancer patients survived, at 68%.

Cancer Research UK said attention needed to be focused on the remaining 4% of patients.

Experts have also said that changes in treatments offered over the years as well as a growing awareness of testicular cancer could explain the improved survival figures.

Dr Harpal Kumar, the chief executive of Cancer Research UK said, “A clear success story in cancer research has been the drug cisplatin, which our scientists helped to develop”.

“This is helping almost all men with testicular cancer to beat the disease and is a shining example of what we can achieve through dedicated research.”

“For some types of cancer, the word ‘cure’ is almost a reality – 96% of men with testicular cancer are now cured. But it’s important we recognise the four per cent who aren’t surviving the disease, as well as the fact that we still need treatments to be kinder to patients in the future.”

Katherine Mutsvangwa works for the male cancer charity Orchid, and said that earlier diagnosis played a hugely important role in falling death rates.

“There has been a lot of awareness of testicular cancer in the time between the 70s and present day. Men are getting checked out a lot sooner, before the disease has spread to other parts of the body.”

She said the remaining 4% of patients who were not surviving tended to be diagnosed much later on or had “much more aggressive” types of testicular cancer.

Recent research has also found that taller men are at risk of the disease. Researchers found that within a group of more than 10,000 men, for every extra two inches or 5cm in height above average, the risk of developing testicular cancer went up by 13%.

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