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Ovarian cancer survival rates on the rise

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Ovarian cancer survival rates over a five-year period have almost doubled from 30 years ago, new data reveals.

The proportion of people in England and Wales who were still alive five years after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer stood at just 21% in the early 1970s. However, this figure has since increased to 41%.

The figures by Cancer Research UK show that more than 1,000 women a year are still living for a minimum of five years after being diagnosed with the disease.

But the charity said that people in the later stages of the disease were still highly vulnerable and further work needs to be carried out in order to save more lives.

Around 45% of the women diagnosed with the disease have stage III cancer. This group of women only has a 20% chance of living for at least five years. For those who are in stage IV of the disease, the figure drops to a mere 6%.

James Brenton, from Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Research Institute, who treats ovarian cancer patients at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, said: “These latest figures show improvements in treatment, such as centralisation of ovarian cancer surgery and uniform access to chemotherapy, are making a difference in helping more women survive ovarian cancer, particularly those who are diagnosed earlier. But we face a real challenge in translating these improvements in survival to women whose ovarian cancer has already spread.”

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