Cancer survival rate likely to rise

11 December 2013 08:54

A cancer cell: But the number of people dying from three of the main types of the disease looks set to plummet by 2020

A cancer cell: But the number of people dying from three of the main types of the disease looks set to plummet by 2020

The amount of people dying from breast, prostate and bowel cancer will nearly halve by the end of the decade, latest statistics suggest.

Just over one in three (36%) breast cancer patients will ultimately die from the condition, down from 61% in 1992, it is believed.

The same proportion of people with prostate cancer will also die, according to 2020 forecasts, down from 72% some 21 years ago.

Nearly two in five (39%) bowel cancer sufferers will die from their disease, down from 67% in 1992, according to Macmillan Cancer Support figures.

Lung cancer lags behind, however, with 76% of patients likely to die from their illness, compared with 91% in 1992.

Cancer travel insurance could be an option for those who have had health problems but still plan to take holidays in the near future.

Survival from lung cancer has traditionally been low.

Specialists attribute this to people seeing their GP too late with symptoms, and unequal access to surgery dependant on where patients live.

Earlier Macmillan studies calculated that by the end of the decade nearly half (47%) of people will get cancer and 38% should survive the condition.

The latest information indicates there is a difference in survival hopes depending on the kind of cancer.

Professor Jane Maher, chief medical officer at Macmillan Cancer Support, said that patients identified with three of the four most frequent cancers are more likely to survive.

But she said GPs need extra backing to help them diagnose lung cancer sooner.

She added: "We've been working with the GP community to develop the tools that can help."

Ciaran Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said lung cancer sufferers deserve better.

The expert said: "It is high time we closed the gap between survival rates for different cancers and give everyone the best possible chance of recovery."

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