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Survival Rates for Some Cancers on the Slide

Published on: April 17, 2015

According to new figures issued by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the survival rates for certain types of cancer here in the UK are slipping. Progress in increasing survival rates for six of the most common types of cancer have stalled, and in some cases, the survival rate of cancer patients after five years is actually getting worse.

The ONS looked at some of the most common types of cancers such as bowel, breast, ovarian and lung, and found that survival rates in the UK are lower than in countries with similar health resources such as Canada, Australia, Sweden and Denmark. However on a positive note, the ONS found that outcomes for people suffering from these types of cancer are improving.

However, for six other types of cancer it was found that progress has ground to a halt, or is going into reverse. For women, survival rates are getting worse for those suffering from thyroid or bladder cancer, and there has been no progress for cancer of the pancreas. Men with testicular or thyroid cancer have deteriorating outcomes, and survival rates for those with asbestos related lung cancer have stalled.

Is the UK doing enough to fight cancer?

Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, Ciarán Devane, stated that the charity had concerns that the UK was doing enough to reach the rates of other countries, and called for parties across the political spectrum to prioritise cancer survival rates.

The ONS figures show that when looking at bladder cancer, the five year survival rate for women who were diagnosed between 2007 and 2011 was 49.1%, and for those diagnosed between 2008 and 2012, this rate had fallen to 48%.

The situation isn’t much better with female pancreatic cancer. Just 5.4% of those diagnosed are alive five years later. The survival rates for men were even worse, but have now improved. There have also been slight decreases in women’s survival rates for Hodgkin Lymphoma and mesothelioma.

Survival rates for me with thyroid cancer also fell 1.1% over the same period, and is now at 81.8%. Testicular cancer survival rates had risen dramatically over the last decade but have now started to slide back by 0.5% and are now at 97.3%.

It’s a better picture for breast cancer though, as five year survival rates increased 0.8% to 86.1%. Bowel cancer survival rates also improved and are up 1.4% to 58% in men, and up 0.3% to 57.6% in women.

Over the studied period the best improvements were seen in survival rates for myeloma, a bone marrow cancer. These survival rates were up 3.9% to 46.7% for men and up 4.6% to 46.2% for women.

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