Cancer rates rise over last decade

THE number of people diagnosed with cancer each year has increased by nearly 50,000 over the last decade, according to figures published by Cancer Research UK.

In 2011 there were 331,487 people diagnosed with cancer compared with around 283,000 in 2001. The rise is attributed mainly to an ageing population – as medical advances have led to more people surviving infectious disease, heart attacks, strokes and other conditions, a greater number are living longer and developing cancer.

Overall rates of people being diagnosed with cancer have climbed by more than a third (35 per cent) between 1975 and 2011. In 1975, around 295 per 100,000 were diagnosed with the disease. This increased to almost 400 per 100,000 in 2011, which is partly due to risk factors such as drinking alcohol and being overweight.

But research and treatment developments have helped to improve the outcome for many. In the 1970s 23 per cent of cancer patients survived ten years. This climbed to around 46 per cent in 2007.

Dr Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: "These figures reinforce the vital need for more research to better prevent, treat and cure cancer. As the population ages, more people than ever before will be told: ‘you have cancer’. Research is the only way we’ll be able to reduce the devastating impact of the disease. One day we will beat cancer. The more research we do, the sooner that day will come."

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