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Catching cancer early 'boosts survival chances'

13 August 2015 09:17

Diagnosing cancer in the earlier stages is key to survival

Diagnosing cancer in the earlier stages is key to survival

Diagnosing the most common cancers in the earlier stages can more than treble survival chances, experts claim.

Analysis from Cancer Research UK shows over 90% of patients are alive 10 years after being diagnosed with eight cancers at stage one, compared with just 5% who are diagnosed at stage four.

They say the findings highlight the importance of diagnosing the disease as early as possible.


Cancer survival has doubled in the last 40 years.

But one in two people will still be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lives, while the number of cancer cases is expected to rise as life expectancy increases.

Early diagnosis therefore has a big role to play moving forward.

Catching cancer sooner means more treatment options are available to patients when the disease is in its early stages, plus they are more effective.

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'Prize on offer'

Eight common cancers - bladder, bowel, breast, cervical, womb, malignant melanoma, ovarian and testicular - account for more than 40% of all cancer cases.

But the analysis by Cancer Research UK shows around 80% of patients diagnosed with these common cancers at the earlier stages of one or two survive for at least 10 years.

Sara Hiom, the charity's director of early diagnosis, says the figures show the prize on offer for diagnosing more cancers earlier.

She is calling for increased funding in NHS services and more research to develop tests to spot the disease sooner, and she wants to see the Government act on the recommendations in the new cancer strategy.

If the latter happens, Ms Hiom claims the number of people diagnosed at an early stage across all cancer types could be increased from around half of patients at present to more than 60% by 2020.