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Cancer survival rates improve

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People suffering from some cancers are twice as likely to survive as patients diagnosed in the early 1970s, new analysis shows.

Breast, bowel and ovarian cancer survival rates have shot up, as have those for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The percentage of women likely to survive breast cancer for at least 10 years has jumped from less than 40% to 77%, while the figure for both sexes for bowel cancer has risen from 23% to 50%.

Twice as many women with ovarian cancer now survive (18% to 35%) while for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, survival has leapt from 22% to 51%.

Leukaemia patients are also doing well, and are four times as likely to survive for 10 years compared with those diagnosed in the early 1970s.

And while 10-year survival is still low for oesophageal cancer and myeloma (both below 20%), it is thought to have trebled over the same period.

Professor Michel Coleman, head of Cancer Research UK’s cancer survival group, which calculated the figures, said: “These big increases in long-term survival since the 1970s reflect real progress in cancer diagnosis and treatment, and they confirm the immense value of having a National Cancer Registry that holds simple information about all cancer patients diagnosed during the last 30 to 40 years.”

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