1 in 2 People ‘Will Get Cancer’ at Some Point in Their Lives

Wednesday, 04 February 2015

Analysis suggests that one in two people will be diagnosed at cancer during their lifetime.

According to Cancer Research UK, this estimate uses a new method of calculation and has replaced a forecast of over one in three people being diagnosed with the disease.

It has been suggested that longer life expectancies mean that more people will be affected by cancer.

The charity adds that this is not inevitable, and making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and losing weight could have a huge impact.

The sudden jump in estimates seems sudden, but is down to researchers developing a more accurate and sophisticated method for analysing cancer risk.

Both old and new methods predict the same trend – a rise in the lifetime risk of cancer development.

The figures indicate that almost 54 percent of men will develop the disease, in comparison with just under 48 percent of women.

A decrease in deaths from infections and heart disease mean that more people are living long enough to develop cancer.

The good news is that cancer survival figures are also beginning to rise.

Lead researcher from London’s Queen Mary University, Professor Peter Sasieni, says that these findings are not inevitable. He states that there is still a lot that can be done to prevent the onset of cancer. He refers to lifestyle factors such as red meat consumption, obesity and smoking that increase the risks of tumour development.

Professor Sasieni believes that a healthy lifestyle can reduce the lifetime risk of cancer from 50 percent to 30 percent.

Prostate and breast cancers are likely to remain the most common forms of cancers in men and women respectively. However, some forms of cancer are becoming increasingly common.

Tumours found in the food pipe, caused by acid reflux in obese patients, are being seen increasingly often in clinics. Also, the human papillomavirus cause neck and head cancers, which are also on the increase. It is thought that oral sex is behind this rise.

Lung cancer continues to increase in women.

Chief executive of Cancer Research UK, Dr Harpal Kumar, says that they have reached an important milestone. He feels that planning is necessary to make sure that the NHS is able to cope. He stresses that if the NHS doesn’t invest and act now, a crisis will be faced in the future in which the outcomes of cancer will go backwards.

Head and neck surgeon Dr Emma King from Poole Hospital, Dorset, believes that rising cases of cancer will have a significant impact on NHS clinical services.

She feels there needs to be more focus on prevention strategies to make sure cancer is caught early.