Cancer cases rise but deaths FALL, thanks to earlier diagnosis and better treatment
Around 320,000 people are now diagnosed each yearAround half die, but patients are six times more likely to survive than 40 years agoMore men diagnosed than women and Scotland has a 15 per cent higher rate



17:30 GMT, 6 December 2012

Fewer people are dying from cancer in the UK despite an increase in the numbers being diagnosed, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Around 320,000 people are now diagnosed with cancer each year according to an analysis of data from 2008-10.

The figures show 156,200 people died in each of those years.

Fewer people are dying from cancer in the UK despite an increase in the numbers being diagnosed

Fewer people are dying from cancer in the UK despite an increase in the numbers being diagnosed

With men, 431 men in every 100,000 were diagnosed with cancer in the UK between 2008 and 2010 – a rise from 403 between 2001 and 2003.

However, the rate of cancer deaths
decreased. Between 2001 and 2003, the mortality rate was 229 per 100,000
males, which decreased to 204 in 2008-10.

A similar pattern was found with
women. In 2008-10 the cancer diagnosis rate stood at 375 per 100,000
women, an increase from 342 in 2001-03, while, there were 149 deaths per
100,000 – a fall from 160 in 2001-03.

The highest
death rates were in Scotland – around 15 per cent higher than the UK
average for men and women.

The four most common cancers, breast,
prostate, lung and colorectal, accounted for around 53 per cent of
cases and 47 per cent of deaths from cancer.


Breast: 48788

Lung: 41428

Bowel: 41142

Prostate: 40841

Latest annual figures (2009) from Cancer Research UK

Figures compiled by Macmillan Cancer Support last year found that cancer sufferers in Britain are living six times longer after diagnosis compared to 40 years ago.

The greatest improvements have been made in bowel and breast cancers, and most patients can expect to live for at least ten years after diagnosis.

This is largely because of earlier diagnosis, improvements in surgery and advances in chemotherapy, radiotherapy and other drugs. But the charity warned there is a ‘shocking variation’ between different types of cancer, and some areas have experienced a ‘woeful lack of improvement’.

The average survival times for cancers affecting the stomach, pancreas, brain and lungs remains less than a year and has barely increased over the past 40 years.

According to Cancer Research UK, of the 15 most commonly diagnosed cancers in men, testicular cancer has the highest five-year relative survival at 96 per cent and pancreatic cancer has the lowest at 2 per cent.
In recent years there have been big increases in the five-year survival rates for prostate cancer.

These improvements largely reflect an increasing number of men being diagnosed with very early stage prostate cancer as a result of widespread use of PSA testing.

Most men diagnosed at a very early stage will die with prostate cancer but not from it, therefore the survival rate has increased.

In women, breast cancer, malignant melanoma and cancer of the uterus all have five-year relative survival of over 70 per cent.

Of the 15 most commonly diagnosed cancers in women, oesophageal, lung and pancreatic cancer have survival rates of less than 10 per cent.