UK & World News
Half Of Cancer Sufferers Live Another Decade
More than half of all newly-diagnosed cancer patients now live for at least another decade, a landmark study has shown.
An analysis of more than seven million patients by Cancer Research UK reveals 10-year survival rates have jumped from just a quarter since 1971 as diagnostic techniques and treatments have improved.
The charity has set out an "ambitious" strategy to raise 10-year survival still further, to 75% over the next 20 years.
Dr Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: "Up to now, the metric (for success) has been five-year survival.
"But with the progress that's been made over the last few decades, we think it's time to shift the narrative and thinking about 10-year survival.
"That's what patients would aspire to and it's now realistic to talk about it."
Women with breast cancer now have a 78% chance of surviving at least a decade, compared to only 40% some 40 years ago.
Ten-year survival rates for men with testicular cancer have jumped from 69% to 98% over the same period.
But the charity said the outlook for some patients remains bleak, with just 1% of those with pancreatic cancer surviving 10 years.
It will step up research on the cancer - as well as lung, oesophageal and brain cancer - to improve the prognosis.
Professor Michel Coleman, head of Cancer Research UK's cancer survival group at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: "We want to see people with every type of cancer get the same chances of living a long life.
"This won't be easy, but the progress reported here over the last 40 years shows we're moving in the right direction."
The charity said survival could be improved by diagnosing cancer earlier, targeting effective new smart drugs at patients most likely to benefit and reducing the proportion of adults who smoke from 20% to below 5%.
Laurel Johnson, 56, was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in 2006 after suffering a persistent sore throat.
"The chemo literally knocked me off my feet," she said.
"I had to be fed through a tube because I couldn't swallow and I struggled to walk because the therapy left me so weak.
"But the treatment worked. It's thanks to research that I am here today."