Cancer Warning: 'Half Of Britons Will Be Affected'

07.06.2013 06:36

Almost one out of every two people
in the UK will suffer from cancer
during their lifetime by 2020,
according to research by a leading
cancer charity.
Macmillan Cancer Support
estimates that in seven years' time
47% of Britons will be diagnosed
with the disease.
But it also says that almost four in
10 patients (38%) will survive the
disease or die from other causes
Experts analysed existing data on
cancer prevalence, incidence and
mortality and found that the
proportion of people who will
develop cancer at some point in
their lives has increased by more
than a third over the past two
In 1992, 32% of people who died
that year had been diagnosed with
cancer at some point in their lives
and by 2010, this had risen to
However, the number who get
cancer who don't die from the
disease has increased by 67% over
the past 20 years.
In 1992, around one in five people
who had been diagnosed with
cancer ultimately died from
another cause, and by 2010, this
had risen to more than one in
The charity said that though the
survival trend is "encouraging",
there is growing evidence that
many cancer patients do not return
to full health after treatments and
the serious side effects of the
"That we live longer as a nation,
and that we are improving cancer
treatment, are things to celebrate,"
said Macmillan's chief medical
officer Professor Jane Maher.
"We do, however, need to add a
serious note of caution: the more
successful we are with treatment
and cure, the more people we have
living with the long-term effects of
cancer and its treatment.
"Many patients can be left with
physical health and emotional
problems long after treatment has
ended. People struggle with
fatigue, pain, immobility, or an
array of other troublesome side-
"We need to manage these
consequences for the sake of the
patient, but also for the sake of the
taxpayer. We should plan to have
more services to help people stay
well at home, rather than waiting
until they need hospital
The charity's chief
executive, Ciaran Devane, added:
"Because of the progress in
healthcare - ironically largely for
conditions other than cancer - in
only seven years' time nearly half
the population will get cancer in
their lifetime. This poses a
herculean challenge for the NHS
and for society.
"The NHS will not be able to cope
with the huge increase in demand
for cancer services without a
fundamental shift towards proper
after-care, without more care
delivered in the community, and
without engaging cancer patients in
their own health.
"Until then, the help and support
that organisations like Macmillan
provide will become even more
urgent and important to ensure no
one faces cancer alone."