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Cancer Survival Rates Improve, But Significant Challenges Remain

Brain, Lung And Pancreatic Cancers Still Have Low Rates Of Survival


As many as half of all cancer patients in England and Wales can expect to live for at least another decade after being diagnosed with the disease - double the proportion seen in the 1970s, according to new research.

Statistics for more than seven million patients from 1971 to 2011 were analysed by the Cancer Research UK Cancer Survival Group. 

Despite improvements in some areas, the findings revealed that certain types of cancer remain a significant public health problem with particularly low survival rates.

Decade-long survival was seen in just 5% of people with lung cancer and 14% of people with brain tumours, while only 1% of pancreatic cancer patients survive for ten years.

Dr Bernard Rachet from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said part of the problem is that patients are often diagnosed too late for surgery.

"We should be carrying out surgical treatment for many more patients than is currently the case. When it comes to lung cancer, for example, almost all patients diagnosed at an early stage of disease should be operated on with curative intent," he said.

Expert Opinion
The top priority is ensuring those showing signs of cancer or diagnosed with the disease are given the treatment they require as soon as possible, as this plays a critical role in increasing the chances of survival and recovery.

“While significant progress has been made in many areas, it is crucial the work continues and survival rates are improved across the board, which can be done through early diagnosis.

“In our work we have seen the damage misdiagnosis or late diagnosis can have on the chances of a patient surviving and recovering from cancer and it is vital more is done to ensure those showing symptoms of cancer access the treatment they need immediately.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner

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