Cancer cases are set to grow in number by 45% over the next two decades, according to research.
The study carried out by Cancer Research UK and published in the British Journal of Cancer warns that the NHS needs to prepare for a climb in cases from around 298,000 in 2007 to 432,000 by 2030.
Men will be hit with the biggest increase, with cases going up by 55% to more than 230,000 in 2030, while the number of women diagnosed with cancer is set to increase by 35% from around 149,000 in 2007 to more than 200,000 in 2030.
The main reason given for the increase in cancer sufferers is that Britain’s population is growing older.
Professor Peter Sasieni, a Cancer Research UK epidemiologist and author of the study, said: “Projections of cancer cases are important for planning health services so we can understand where the future burden is on the NHS, and also where health awareness messages need to be raised.”
The research does include some good news, with the survival rate for cancer cases doubling over the last 40 years in the UK.
It also predicts that, adjusting for the growing and ageing population, cancer rates will remain broadly stable over the period from 2007 to 2020 - at around 400 per 100,000 men per year and 350 per 100,000 women per year.
Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician, Professor Peter Johnson, said: “We’ve witnessed huge improvements in recent decades.
“But it’s also important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer, so we can spot it early.
“Generally, the earlier cancer is spotted the easier it is to treat successfully, so know what is normal for you and if you spot anything unusual, get it checked out by your doctor.”
Malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, has the biggest projected increase, with a rise of 52% for both men and women.
Other types of the disease expected to show an increase are oral, liver and kidney cancers.