29 April 2014
Well-known charity Cancer Research UK has set a target for cancer survival. It wants 75 per cent of people who get any form of the disease to be surviving for ten years or more in two decades' time, as part of a newly released strategy on cancer fighting progress.
Numbers that the charity has just released show that half of people diagnosed at the moment will live for another decade. That compares to only one in four people diagnosed in the early part of the 1970s living on for a decade.
Among the recent stats, it has been shown that 98 per cent of men with testicular cancer now survive ten years, compared to 69 per cent in the 1970s.
In the earlier period, 46 per cent of people who got the serious skin cancer malignant melanoma survived a decade. Today that's taken a massive leap to 89 per cent.
There are types of cancer with much lower survival rates, however.
When it comes to lung cancer, only one in twenty patients are expected to live for a decade even now. The equivalent figure for people with pancreatic cancer is an even lower one per cent.
Cancer Research has put efforts into getting more research undertaken into these forms of the disease but says progress hasn't been as speedy as had been hoped, a reason it's renewing focus in quickening movement in this area.
"These results come from detailed analysis of the survival of more than 7 million cancer patients diagnosed in England and Wales since the 1970s," explained the head of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Cancer Research UK Cancer Survival Group, professor Michel Coleman.
Professor Coleman's team are behind the newly published figures and he added that the numbers demonstrate the extent of progress in bettering cancer survival.
"But they also shine a spotlight on areas where much more needs to be done," he said.
"We want to see people with every type of cancer get the same chances of living a long life. This won’t be easy, but the progress reported here over the last 40 years shows we’re moving in the right direction."
Other details from the figures show that the oesophageal cancer ten year survival rate is 12 per cent, up from four per cent in the 70s.
Cancer Research UK says the current rate is much too low, and that brain tumour survival also remains low.
It's gone up by some 100 per cent since the 1970s, and yet is only 13 per cent today.
The main focus of the charity's newly launched strategy is to increase cancer survival across the board, including when it comes to difficult to treat types of the disease. It outlines many measures that are designed to make progress in this area faster.
A major priority, for example, is making sure people get their diagnosis as early as is possible - this makes it more likely that treatment will be a success.
The organisation also has plans to put more funding into scientists across diverse disciplines. It says collaboration is crucial in getting things people discover in a lab into clinics.
Posted by Philip Briggs
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