Healthy living

Cancer cases in UK predicted to rise by 45%

Cancer cases in UK predicted to rise by 45% NHS needs to plan now, experts warn

Cancer cases in the UK are set to soar by 45 per cent over the next twenty years, new research suggests.

A study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, predicts that new cancer cases will rise from around 298,000 in 2007 to around 432,000 by 2030.

Cancer Research UK, which funded the study, warned that the NHS should prepare now for the increase to avoid being 'overwhelmed' in the future.

Men are expected to be hardest hit, with the number of new cancer cases expected to rise by 55 per cent to more than 230,000 in 2030, while new cancer cases among women are forecast to rise by 35 per cent to more than 200,000 in 2030.

The main reason behind the rise is people living longer and a growing population, the researchers said.

While the number of new cancer cases are set to rise, cancer rates have remained broadly stable over the past 23 years, after adjusting for the growing and ageing population.

However, some cancers will also see an increase in rates. Over the next 20 years, some of the biggest increases in cancer rates will be from oral, liver, malignant melanoma and kidney cancers – especially among men.

The rate of malignant melanoma – the most dangerous form of skin cancer - is predicted to increase by 52 per cent for both men and women.

The rate of kidney cancer in men and women is also expected to rise by 28 per cent and 18 per cent respectively.

Breast cancer rates among women are expected to fall by around seven per cent, due to a reduction in the use of hormone replacement therapy.

Professor Peter Sasieni, an epidemiologist at Queen Mary, University of London, said: "Projections of cancer cases are important for planning health services so we can understand where the future burden is on the NHS and also where health awareness messages need to be raised."

Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician, said: "We’ve witnessed huge improvements in recent decades, with cancer survival doubling over the last 40 years.

"But it’s also important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer, so we can spot it early. Generally, the earlier cancer is spotted the easier it is to treat successfully, so know what is normal for you and if you spot anything unusual, get it checked out by your doctor."

This article was published on Fri 28 October 2011

Image © Alexander Raths -

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