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500,000 more people living with cancer in the UK than five years ago

In the five-week election period alone 35,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer 

Sophie Gallagher
Thursday 28 November 2019 16:59 GMT

The number of people living with cancer in the UK has risen by almost 500,000 in just five years and someone is now diagnosed on average every 90 seconds, says new research.

This is an increase of a fifth and brings the total number of people in the UK with cancer to almost three million according to the data compiled by Macmillan cancer support.

Highlighting the vast numbers of people affected, the charity said in the five-week election period alone there will be 35,000 people newly diagnosed.

The charity estimates that by 2020 there will be 1.27 million men and 1.62 women living with the disease, compared to 1.06 million men and 1.39 million women in 2015.

And by 2025 they estimate there will be a further increase of 500,000 bringing the total to 3.5 million. And the figure is likely to grow to 4,000,000 by 2030.

Macmillan say the reason behind this rise is largely attributable to a growth in population, meaning that, in real terms, more people are going to be diagnosed with the disease.

People are also living longer, which means they have a greater span of time in which to develop cancer than if they die earlier.

Other factors include ever-improving rates of diagnosis and new treatments which mean more people are living longer with the disease.

The analysis is based on data from the national cancer registry and shows of the 3,000,000 currently living with cancer, more than 250,000 are in Scotland.

In Wales there are 170,000 and 82,000 in Northern Ireland.

Macmillan Cancer support chief executive Lynda Thomas said: “More and more people are hearing the life-changing news that they have cancer, at a time when the NHS desperately needs additional doctors and nurses.

“Ultimately, this is whipping up a perfect storm which needs to be taken seriously as a day-one priority by party leaders.

“I constantly hear heartbreaking stories from patients who are so grateful for their healthcare professionals but often don’t want to add to their workload with their needs or concerns.

“We need decision-makers across the UK to prioritise funding and put in place the right plans, to ensure we have a cancer workforce fit for purpose both now and in the future.”

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