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Call for NHS staff investment as cancer cases rise

The Cancer Research UK logo
by Cancer Research UK | News

25 January 2018

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Image of nurse speaking to patient
The number of new cases of cancer in England is continuing to rise, according to new figures
The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data show that there were 303,135 cancers diagnosed in England in 2016, up from 299,923 in 2015. This is equivalent to 828 new cases diagnosed each day.
“We’re urging the Government to commit to long-term plans to increase [NHS] staff.” – Sara Bainbridge, Cancer Research UK
Sara Bainbridge, from Cancer Research UK, said that the Government must ensure the NHS can cope with the growing number of people diagnosed with cancer.
More cancers were diagnosed in men (155,019) than women (148,116). This is the equivalent of 663 cases for every 100,000 men, and 541 cases for every 100,000 women.
Since 1995 rates have increased from 649 and 470 cases for every 100,000 men and women respectively. 
The sharper rise in cancer incidence in women is partly due to an increase in smoking-related lung cancers in women. 
In keeping with previous years, the pattern of more cases being diagnosed in men than women was consistent across most cancer types. 

What are the most common cancers?

The majority (93.1%) of cases were recorded as being diagnosed in 24 sites of the body. Over half (52.7%) were found in 4 sites: 
breast – 15.2% of cases 
prostate – 13.4% 
lung – 12.7%
bowel – 11.5% 
The figures exclude non-melanoma skin cancers.

Cancer cases set to continue rising

Bainbridge said that the figures are a stark reminder of the number of people affected, and that diagnosing cancer early is key to improving survival. 
“To do this we need enough staff on the ground, yet right now over 1 in 10 NHS diagnostic staff posts are unfilled,” she said. 
“This means that the NHS might not be offering everyone the best chance of an early diagnosis. We’re urging the Government to commit to long-term plans to increase staff.”
Age is the biggest risk factor for cancer and the ageing population accounts for some of the increase in cases. 
Cases in people over 65 account for nearly two thirds (65.3%) of cancer diagnoses, and both the ageing population and cancer cases are projected to continue increasing.