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UK cancer death rates forecast to fall by 15% by 2035

Death rates from cancer in the UK will fall by 15% by 2013 thanks to research advances, the cancer charity Cancer Research UK (CRUK) has predicted.

Scientific breakthroughs will lead to the prevention of 403,000 deaths that would have happened otherwise, according to the charity’s analysis.

However, despite the risk of death from cancer being likely to fall, the number of people dying from it will continue to rise due to the UK’s growing and ageing population.

“Thanks to research fewer people will die from cancer in the future. We’re resolute that, by 2035, three in four people will survive their cancer for at least 10 years,” said Sir Harpal Kumar, CRUK’s chief executive. “This will mean making more progress in breast, bowel and blood cancers, but also accelerating our effort in those cancers which are currently hard to treat.”

The charity added that mortality rates from bowel cancer will fall by 23% over the next 20 years due to advances in screening, surgery and chemotherapy for the disease, with breast cancer death rates projected to drop by 26% and lung cancer by 21%.

However, CRUK pointed out that there is still much variation in death rates for different kinds of cancer, with death rates for pancreatic and brain cancer likely to remain static and the mortality rate for liver cancer expected to rise by 58% by 2035 due to more alcohol-related cancers.

NHS England, which has prioritised improving cancer outcomes, welcomed the analysis, with chief executive Simon Stevens saying: “These figures underline how the NHS is successfully translating new research and targeted investment into dramatic gains in cancer care.

“Thanks to improvements over just the past year, an extra 2,400 families will be able to share this Christmas with a loved one who would not have survived cancer a year ago.”

CRUK’s statistical information team reached their conclusions by comparing actual cancer mortality rates in 2014 and the projected age-standardised death rates for all cancers over the next years with ONS predictions regarding the UK’s population.

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Gerald Nicholls   12/12/2017 at 18:45

I was surprised to see no mention of the comparable figures for prostate cancer. Is the NHS hiding something?

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