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Cancer survival rates soar

A new report has revealed that more people are surviving from cancer than ever before.

The proportion between the numbers of people who have been diagnosed in the past year, and the number of people who are still alive a year after being diagnosed has improved across all types of cancer, according to recently released figures from Public Health England’s National Cancer Intelligence Network.

Lung cancer is among one of the diseases where survival rates have improved dramatically, rising from 28% in 2007 to 36.3%. Ovarian cancer is up from 68.1% to 74%, and breast cancer has risen from 94.8% to 96.4%.

Sean Duffy, a national clinical director for cancer at NHS England said: “It’s hugely encouraging to see this significant improvement in cancer survival, which is excellent news for patients and a testament to the hard work of the NHS. This report shows we cannot underestimate the importance of early diagnosis – the earlier cancer is spotted, the better the outcome.”

The new figures, along with suggesting that cancer survival has dramatically improved, also mean that half of cancer patients diagnosed today can expect to live for at least for a further ten years, say Cancer Research UK.

Earlier figures released this month show incredible progress within the diagnosis and treatment of cancers throughout the past four decades. Back in the 1970’s, only 25% of patients lived for ten years after initially being diagnosed with the disease – a number which has since doubled, with more than 50% of patients predicted to live over ten years past diagnosis.

Sara Hiom, director for early diagnosis and cancer intelligence at Cancer Research UK said, “It’s encouraging to see these improvements in one-year survival and interesting to observe from the newly available staging data how these improvements are achieved at a stage by stage level.”

However, she also added that the recent release of figures highlighted, “the need for us to do more to improve early diagnosis so that as many people as possible survive their cancer.”

Macmillan Cancer Support also welcomed the Public Health England report, stating that it was ‘encouraging’ but also warned that there was a lot more work to do in order to catch up with the leaders in cancer survival in Europe (countries such as Sweden, Norway and Finland have much better cancer awareness and survival rates than the UK).

Mike Hobday, director of policy and research at Macmillan Cancer Support said: “Whilst it’s encouraging to see that overall survival rates for some of the most common cancers in England are improving, we know that we still have a long way to go here in the UK if we are to catch up with the best in Europe.”

He added, “The ability of the NHS to undertake such detailed analysis of cancer survival is growing very rapidly, providing increasingly strong evidence on how we can continue to improve cancer care across the country.”

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