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Cancer survival rates double

Cancer survival rates double New treatments, screening behind results

Survival rates for some deadly cancers have doubled in the past forty years, according to new figures released today.

People diagnosed with breast, bowel and ovarian cancers and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are twice as likely to survive, charity Cancer Research UK found.

In the 1970's, less than 40 per cent of women were likely to survive breast cancer for at least 10 years, compared with 77 per cent nowadays. And for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, survival rates have increased from 18 to 35 per cent.

Similarly, the proportion of people likely to survive bowel cancer has risen from 23 per cent to 50 per cent.

Survival rates for non-Hodgkins lymphoma have almost doubled during the same period, from 22 to 51 per cent. And for Hodgkins lymphoma - a type of cancer of the white blood cells - it's predicted that eight out of ten patients will live for at least ten years.

There is also encouraging news for leukaemia with patients four times as likely to survive for 10 years compared with those diagnosed in the early 1970s.

Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician, said: "There are many reasons for our continuing success in the fight against cancer, including faster diagnosis, better surgery, more effective radiotherapy and many new drugs, all developed using the knowledge that our laboratory research has given us.

“We expect this trend to continue, hastened by Cancer Research UK's investment in research in all these areas.”

Professor Michel Coleman, head of Cancer Research UK’s Cancer Survival Group, who calculated the figures, said: “These big increases in long-term survival since the 1970s reflect real progress in cancer diagnosis and treatment, and they confirm the immense value of having a National Cancer Registry that holds simple information about all cancer patients diagnosed during the last 30-40 years.

“Ten-year survival figures for patients diagnosed in 2007 are of course predictions, but they are derived from the latest national data on cancer patient survival – and for most cancers, the true 10-year survival for these patients will turn out to be higher than we report.”

This article was published on Mon 12 July 2010

Image © Arto - Fotolia.com

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