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Half of all cancer patients now survive at least 10 years

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

50% of people diagnosed with cancer today will survive their disease for at least 10 years, according to new research from the School.*

Cancer survival summaryIn the early 1970s just a quarter of people diagnosed with cancer survived 10 years.

Women with breast cancer now have a 78% chance of surviving at least a decade, compared to only 40% in the early 1970s.

Ten-year survival for men with testicular cancer has jumped from 69% to 98% since the 1970s and, for people diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, 10-year survival has leapt from 46% to 89%.

Professor Michel Coleman, head of the Cancer Survival Group at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, whose team produced the survival figures, said: “These results come from detailed analysis of the survival of more than 7 million cancer patients diagnosed in England and Wales since the 1970s. They show just how far we've come in improving cancer survival, but they also shine a spotlight on areas where much more needs to be done.

“We want to see people with every type of cancer get the same chances of living a long life. This won’t be easy, but the progress reported here over the last 40 years shows we’re moving in the right direction.”

The new figures reveal that there is still progress to be made with some cancers. Just 1% of pancreatic cancer patients and 5% of lung cancer patients diagnosed today are expected to survive 10 years.

Survival from oesophageal cancer is at 10%, although 40 years ago it was only 4%. Brain tumour survival is also very low at just 13%, despite more than doubling in the last 40 years.

The research, funded by Cancer Research UK, was released to coincide with the announcement of the charity’s new strategy to accelerate progress with the ambition that three-quarters of all cancer patients diagnosed in 20 years time will survive at least 10 years.

Key priorities for the charity include ensuring cancer patients are diagnosed at the earliest possible stage of their disease when treatment is more likely to be successful, and providing funding to scientists across different disciplines to work collaboratively to make new discoveries.  

The preliminary cancer survival statistics are available on the Cancer Research UK website. The full research from the Cancer Survival Group at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine will be published in the coming weeks.

* 49.8% net survival index, all cancers combined, for adults (15-99 years) diagnosed with cancer in England and Wales during 2010-11.

Image: Survival summary. Credit: Cancer Research UK.


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