Half a million a year to get cancer diagnosis by 2035
Increasingly unhealthy lifestyles will see half a million people a year being diagnosed with cancer by 2035, according to Cancer Research UK (CRUK).
Currently, around 350,000 people a year are diagnosed with some form of cancer. But if current trends continue, CRUK predicts this figure will rise by a further 150,000 people.
The majority of sufferers will be men (270,000), with prostate cancer being the most prevalent form among males. Breast cancer will be the most common diagnosis for women.
Smoking, drinking and obesity
While the increasing number of diagnoses is down to people living longer, CRUK claims excess drinking, obesity and smoking are also partly to blame.
Dr Rebecca Smittenaar, CRUK’s statistics manager, says three-quarters of the population are unaware of the link between obesity and cancer, despite it being the second biggest preventable cause of the disease.
Sir Harpal Kumar, CRUK’s chief executive, describes the figures as “shocking”, saying 4 in 10 cancers in the UK can be prevented through reducing smoking rates and tackling the rising obesity epidemic.
The study says that prevention of cancer lies in the hands of both the government and the population.
Reducing your own cancer risk
Professor Peter Johnson, CRUK’s chief clinician, says it’s vital people know how to reduce their own risk of cancer as much as possible.
He adds that the NHS needs to be planning now for increased demands for diagnosis, treatment and care for people with cancer.
There is currently a “serious shortage” of specialists in important fields such as radiology, endoscopy and oncology, Prof Johnson claims.
Rosanna O'Connor, director of alcohol and drugs at Public Health England, says the figures are “sobering” and every effort needs to be made to nudge people to make the right lifestyle choices and to design a health service that will help prevent people developing cancer.
The study was published in the British Journal of Cancer.
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