Cancer: The good news - Independent
"Cancer is no longer the death sentence that it once was. Our most feared disease is turning into a condition that people live with, rather than die from, figures published yesterday show.
In the past 30 years, overall survival rates from cancer have doubled, thanks to better treatments, earlier diagnosis and greater public awareness of the warning symptoms.
Almost half of patients (46.2 per cent) diagnosed in 2000-01 were expected to live 10 years, compared with a quarter (23.6 per cent) of those diagnosed in 1971, according to the charity Cancer Research UK.
Ten-year survival is a benchmark of success in cancer treatment and is regarded as close to a cure.
The breakneck progress, that has accelerated in the past decade, is set to continue, experts predicted. Among 10 goals announced yesterday, Cancer Research UK set a target of 66 per cent overall five-year survival by 2020, up from 50 per cent in 2001.
However, Britain still trails Europe in terms of cancer survival, despite the recent improvement. The last European survey of cancer , Eurocare-3, published in 2003 showed British patients died sooner than in most other European countries.
Professor Michel Coleman, a cancer epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who calculated the latest figures, said cancer was still a "major public health problem" that would affect one in three people during their lifetimes."
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