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Cancer survival rates continue to improve

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The number of people diagnosed with cancer surviving the condition continues to improve, according to a new report by the Office of National Statistics.

The report studied survival rates for 24 different common cancers diagnosed between 2008 and 2013. In 2013, 80 per cent of patients with breast, prostate and skin cancer are living for five years after diagnosis, with survival rates as high as 90 per cent for testicular cancer. However, survival rates for brain, lung, liver, pancreas and stomach cancer are all below 19 per cent for men and 22 per cent for women. Pancreatic cancer for both men and women has a survival rate of just 5.4 per cent. It has been suggested that survival rates for these cancers remain low because of the difficulty in diagnosing the condition early enough to be treatable.

Nick Ormiston-Smith, head of statistical information at Cancer Research UK, said: 'This increase in survival shows the power of research – thanks to better treatments, earlier diagnosis and greater awareness more people are surviving cancer than ever before. But the story's not so positive for all types of cancer – lung, pancreatic, oesophageal cancer and brain tumours still have relatively low survival rates, partly because they tend to be diagnosed at a later stage when they're much harder to treat. We're working to beat all cancers sooner, increasing our research into cancers with lower survival rates and boosting our investment to help diagnose cancer earlier – accelerating progress to save more lives.'

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