More than 170,000 people diagnosed in the 70s and 80s are still alive in what Macmillan researchers say is an ‘extraordinary’ number
People are twice as likely to live at least 10 years after being diagnosed with cancer than they were at the start of the 1970s, new research shows. More than 170,000 people in the UK who were diagnosed in the 1970s and 1980s are still alive – an “extraordinary” number, Macmillan Cancer Support said in its report Cancer: Then and Now.
The increase in long-term cancer survivors is due to more sophisticated treatment combined with an ageing population, the charity said, acknowledging that there was still a huge variation in survival rates according to cancer type. But it warned the consequences were increasing demand on the NHS, with more people living for longer, with long-term side-effects.
The Macmillan chief executive, Lynda Thomas, said: “More and more people are being diagnosed with cancer and, in general, having a more sophisticated life with their cancer than perhaps they would have done. What we are now seeing is that lot of people are coming in and out of treatment, so all of that does put pressure on the NHS.
The number of people living with cancer in the UK is set to grow from 2.5 million to 4 million by 2030. Photograph: Alamy