Cancer Survival Rates Fall, ONS Finds

Survival Rates For Common Cancers Have Fallen In Recent Years

03.11.2014

The number of people surviving certain types of cancer in the UK has begun to decrease, new data shows.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that cancer survival rates in England remain significantly behind those of many other countries, including Canada, Denmark, Australia, Sweden and Norway, leading to concerns that more could be being done in the UK to increase numbers.

For instance, bladder cancer survival rates have fallen over the past few years, with 49.1 per cent of female sufferers beating the disease between 2007 and 2011, but this has dropped to 48 per cent for those diagnosed with the condition between 2008 and 2012, raising questions as to why this could be.

In addition, the ONS data shows the number of males surviving thyroid cancer fell by 1.1 per cent from 2008 to 2012, while testicular cancer full recovery rates have also declined, by 0.5 per cent. Yet despite this, more than 97 per cent of men diagnosed do survive the condition.

Survival rates relating to females with pancreatic cancer have also gone into reverse, with only 5.4 per cent of sufferers living for five years or longer after diagnosis.

Furthermore, falls were seen for the number of women making a complete recovery from Hodgkin's lymphoma and the amount of men receiving the all-clear for mesothelioma.

Chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support Ciaran Devane commented: "While it's encouraging to see that overall survival rates for some of the most common cancers in England have been improving, we know that we still have a long way to go if survival rates in England are to catch up with the best in Europe.

"Cancer is not yet fixed, we can - and must - be trying to save more lives."

However, the results weren't all negative, with breast cancer survival rates increasing by 0.8 per cent to 86.1 per cent, and those for bowel cancer rising by a significant 1.4 per cent for men to 58 per cent and 0.3 per cent for women, reaching 57.6 per cent.

The biggest improvements in survival were recorded for myeloma, which is a form of bone marrow cancer. These increased by 3.9 per cent for men and 4.6 per cent for women.

Expert Opinion
The early diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering with cancer plays a critical role in the chances of patients surviving and recovering from the disease. These new findings are extremely troubling as cancer survival rates in the UK are falling below those of other nations and it is vital a thorough investigation into the treatment and care received by cancer patients is conducted, in a bid to understand why survival rates are falling.

“In our work we have seen first-hand the consequences of misdiagnosis or delays in the diagnosis of cancer and it is crucial everything possible is done to improve the process and to ensure patients showing symptoms of lung cancer are diagnosed quickly and able to access the treatment that could help them survive the disease.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner