Cancer no longer a death sentence as half of victims survive a decade


Chris Smyth in The Times 29th April 2014 reports the good news: Cancer no longer a death sentence as half of victims survive a decade 

This improvement is in most G8 countries, and in comparison the UK lags. The main outcome indicator is how soon a patient gets referred and imaged or biopsied. Waiting times for tests and out patient appointments are important, and must be speedier if we are to match other countries. At the moment we just don’t have the imaging and radiology capacity..

Half of people with cancer will now survive in the long term, according to figures that mark a “tipping point” in the fight against the disease.

Cancer should no longer be seen as a death sentence and is on its way to becoming a chronic condition that people can live with for decades, Cancer Research UK said as it published figures revealing huge improvements in care in the past 40 years.

Fifty per cent of those told they have cancer today are likely to live for at least a decade, compared with just a quarter in the 1970s, according to analysis of data on seven million patients. Many patients who live for ten years after diagnosis will be effectively cured, with no greater chance of dying of cancer than anyone else.

Yet there are huge variations between different types of cancer, with just five per cent of lung cancer patients projected to live more than ten years and just one per cent of people with pancreatic cancer likely to do so, unchanged from the 1970s. By contrast prostate cancer has shown huge improvements, with 84 per cent living more than ten years, up from 25 per cent in the 1970s…


Cancer survival rates

The chart below shows the percentage of people who have survived for at least 10 years after diagnosis. Use the buttons to see survival rates from 1971 to 2007. For further graphic look here

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Good News, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

1 thought on “Cancer no longer a death sentence as half of victims survive a decade

  1. Pingback: YOU could die on the waiting list: Patients kept waiting for months to start cancer treatment | NHS reality. An NHS soapbox. Speakers' corner for the NHS.

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