Increase in cancer survival shows power of research
Posted on 2nd November 2014 by Crispin in Research
We echo Cancer Research’s headline from their latest report following the release of the latest Office of National Statistics report on survival rates.
We welcome their report and – as reported by us on Friday 31st October – the encouraging news that for brain tumours five-year survival has increased by 1% to 19.8% but this is still significantly lower than many other cancers.
“Cancer remains a huge challenge,” said Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician.
“Although we have made great progress against it, it’s still the highest cause of deaths in England and Wales, accounting for more than one in four of all deaths in 2013. This is partly because people in the UK are living longer.
“Cancer is more common in older people because there is more time for faults in cells to develop – these faults trigger the disease.”
Survival rates among cancer patients have doubled in the last four decades thanks to increased research, with experts aiming to see three-quarters of people surviving the disease within the next 20 years.
But for some types of cancer there has been little improvement. Pancreatic, lung, oesophageal and brain tumour survival rates continue to buck the positive trend.
More than 8 out of 10 people affected by cancers of the breast (in women), prostate, testis and thyroid gland, and for Hodgkin lymphoma and melanoma of the skin, now survive for at least five years, as medical advances come to the fore.
“This increase in survival shows the power of research – thanks to better treatments, earlier diagnosis and greater awareness, more people are surviving cancer than ever before,” said Nick Ormiston-Smith, head of statistical information at Cancer Research UK.
In comparison, the outlook for cancers of the brain, lung, oesophagus, liver, pancreas, stomach and for mesothelioma remains a challenge. Five-year survival in these cases is less than 22%, while for pancreatic cancer the figure sits at 5%.
Professor Johnson warned there is still much to do when it comes to cancer survival rates:
“Earlier diagnosis, access to the right treatment at the right time, and preventing the disease through lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking all play a role in beating cancer.”
The final thought on this comes from our Chief Excecutive, Sue Farrington Smith: “We must continue to fund long-term brain tumour research through our Centres of Excellence. As yet we do not fully understand the behaviour of all 120+ types of brain tumour nor do we understand the causes, so brain tumours cannot be prevented. Please help us fund the fight to improve treatments and find the cure.”