Cancer no longer a death sentence says survivor Nichola Wymark as figures show fall in number of deaths from the disease
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
More people in our region are surviving cancer thanks to early diagnosis, improved treatment and research.
New figures show, in the last 10 years, the survival rate of people affected by cancer has improved by 10% in the East of England.
But some types of cancer, such as liver and pancreatic, still have high fatality figures.
As people in East Anglia are urged to show their support for World Cancer Day today the charity Cancer Research UK has released new figures revealing the overall fall in cancer-related deaths.
Research has proved to be the key factor in reducing the number of lives lost to the disease with improved knowledge about preventing it, surgical techniques, targeted radiotherapy and more effective drugs all boosting the outcome for patients.
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Death rates show the proportion of people in the UK who are dying of cancer has fallen dramatically even though more people are being diagnosed with the disease.
In 2003, 306 in every 100,000 people in the East died from the disease. This fell overall by 10% to 274 people per 100,000 in 2013 - the latest figures released.
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The rising number of diagnoses is largely due to the UK’s ageing population and cancer being more common in older people.
Danielle Glavin, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the east, said: “It’s important to remember that even though the death rates are falling the overall number of people dying from cancer is expected to increase.
“Too many people are still being diagnosed with and dying from cancer, not just here in the east but across the UK and around the globe.
“There is still a great deal of work to be done to ensure that more families can stay together for longer.”
For World Cancer Day 2016 Cancer Research UK has joined forces with Breast Cancer Care, Anthony Nolan and the Movember Foundation.
Collectively the four charities support millions of people every year through their individual work in the prevention, detection, treatment and support of those affected by cancer.
For more information visit www.worldcancerday.co.uk
Karen Hare at charity Cancer Campaign in Suffolk said it was important people did not bury their heads in the sand when it came to noticing the signs and symptoms of cancer.
She said: “In some cases putting things off like going to see your GP if you find something that concerns you could be putting your life at risk.
“We’d like everyone to be body and cancer aware and learn about changes in their body and the signs and symptoms of cancer. An early diagnosis leads to more successful treatment so more people survive.
“We provide awareness talks and workshops in the local community to businesses, colleges, schools and community groups we explain the importance of acting on early signs, going for regular screening and how to detect the signs and symptoms of cancer.”
One charity which has been raising millions for cancer research is of course the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
Started in March 2008 by the popular former Ipswich, Newcastle and England manager before his death it has helped fund drug trials and other projects dedicated to beating cancer.
Ahead of World Cancer Day his family visited some of the beneficiaries of the foundation, for which hundreds of thousands of pounds has been raised in Suffolk.
His wife Lady Elsie and sons Andrew and Mark visited the Sir Bobby Robson PET Tracer Production Unit at Newcastle University and the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre and stereotactic radiotherapy unit, both at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, Freeman Hospital, to learn more about the progress being made.
Mark Robson said: “We receive regular updates about everything the foundation funds and it also means a lot to us to hear at first hand what’s happening.
“The charity contributed a total of almost £3 million to help fund these three projects alone, which is a tremendous amount of money by anybody’s standards.”