Improvements in early detection lowers death rates
Data from Cancer Research UK has revealed that the death rates of four common cancers, which account for half of all cancer deaths in the UK, have fallen by almost a third since the early 1990’s.
The figures show that the combined death rates for breast, bowel, lung and prostate cancer have fallen by 30% over the past two decades, with the prominent charity saying that research has had a “powerful impact” on the fight against the disease.
Between 1991 and 1993, 146 people out of every 100,000 could have expected to die from one of these four cancers but by 2010/12 these figures dipped to 102 out of every 100,000. Breast cancer deaths dropped by 38% over this time period, while bowel cancer decreased by 34%. Lung cancer rates dropped by 27% and prostate cancer deaths fell by 21%.
Cancer cases dropping
Cancer Research UK has identified the improved detection of breast cancer through routine screening as well as experts developing more specialist care and effective treatments as part of the reason for the drastic decreases in death rates. Early detection and more developed treatments have really helped fight bowel cancer, although the introduction of bowel cancer screenings is likely to have an impact on future cases. Prostate cancer cases are being diagnosed earlier which is helping reduce deaths.
While death rates in lung cancer have fallen, the charity warned that there has been little improvement in the outlook for those diagnosed with the disease. It has pledged to improve lung cancer mortality through earlier diagnosis and trials for improved treatments.
Cancer Research UK’s chief executive Harpal Kumar told The Guardian “Research continues to help save lives from cancer, and these figures offer renewed encouragement that progress continues. The UK remains a world leader in cancer research, responsible for many of the breakthroughs that have reduced the impact of cancer. But while the death rate for the four biggest cancer killers falls, it’s vital to remember that more needs to be done to help bring even better results over the coming years. There are over 200 different forms of the disease. For some of these, the advances are less impressive, such as pancreatic, oesophageal and liver cancer. Far too many lives continue to be affected by the disease. We’re determined that the research we fund will help save more lives, developing better, kinder treatments which will beat cancer sooner.”