Rise in long-term cancer survival

People are twice as likely to live at least 10 years after being diagnosed with cancer than they were at the start of the 1970s, research shows.

More than 170,000 people in the UK who were diagnosed in the 1970s and 1980s are still alive — an “extraordinary” number, Macmillan Cancer Support said in its report ‘Cancer: Then And Now’.

The increase in long-term cancer survivors is due to more sophisticated treatment, combined with an ageing population, the charity said, acknowledging there was still a huge variation in survival rates according to cancer type.

However, it warned the consequences were increasing demand on the NHS, with more people living for longer with long-term side-effects.

Macmillan chief executive Lynda Thomas said: “More and more people are being diagnosed with cancer and, in general, having a more sophisticated life with their cancer than perhaps they would have done.

“What we are now seeing is that lot of people are coming in and out of treatment, so all of that does put pressure on the NHS.”

Around 625,000 people in the UK are estimated to be facing poor health or disability after cancer treatment.


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