Big increase in child cancer survival rates

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The survival rates for British children with potentially life-threatening cancers nowrival those in the United States, cancer charities have disclosed.

The survival rates for British children with potentially life-threatening cancers nowrival those in the United States, cancer charities have disclosed.

Over the past 25 years, the overall survival rate has leapt from 42 per cent to 72 per cent in Britain, close behind the US figure of 77 per cent.

For the two most common child cancers, acute lymphoid leukemia and Hodgkin's disease, survival rates are even higher in Britain, at 81 per cent and 97 per cent respectively.

These findings are regarded as a milestone, with rates in the US seen as the "gold standard" for oncologists.

Sir Paul Nurse, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said these figures,marking the 25th anniversary of a campaign to target child cancers, were a significant boost.

"In terms of the key successes of cancer research over the last few decades, childhood cancer is one of the jewels in our crown," he said.

These rates mean25,000 Britons are alive today after surviving childhood cancer, which affects 1,450 people a year. Researchers are intensifying efforts to improve survival rates for rarer child cancers, including Wilms' tumour, by ploughing money into pan-European research.

But Britain is still behind the US in overall survival rates in adults. With lung cancer, the US rates are 13 per cent for men and 17 per cent for women. In Britain, both stand at 5.5 per cent. For colon cancer, US rates are 62 per cent, against 43.5 per cent in the UK.

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