The C-Word: How we react to cancer today

Being diagnosed with cancer is now one of the most common life-changing events in people’s lives | Macmillan 

c word

Image source: Macmillan

There are more new cases of cancer each year than marriages in the UK, according to a new report from Macmillan Cancer Support.

The report, The C-Word: How we react to cancer today, reveals being diagnosed with cancer is one of the most common life-changing events in people’s lives. New analysis reveals:

  • Cancer is more common than new marriages: Latest figures show there are over 70,000 more new cases of cancer each year in UK than new marriages
  • Cancer is more common than women having their first child: Latest figures show there are almost 50,000 more new cases of cancer each in year in England and Wales than women giving birthto their first child
  • Cancer is as common as graduating: Latest figures show there are a similar number of undergraduate degrees awarded each year in the UK, compared with new cases of cancer.
  • Cancer affects many people at the “prime” of their life: More than 1.2 million people have been diagnosed with cancer under the age of 65 in the past 10 years, including more than 340,000 diagnosed in their 20s, 30s and 40s.

Full report here


Cancer survival in England

Cancer survival in England for specific cancer sites by age, sex and stage at diagnosis. | Office for National Statistics

Key findings:

  • Among the 25 cancers forming the National Statistics, 1-year survival was highest for melanoma of the skin in both men (97.1%) and women (98.5%) and 5-year survival was highest for testicular cancer in men (95.9%) and melanoma of the skin in women (93.9%).
  • Pancreatic cancer had the lowest 1-year survival for men (22.9%) and women (24.7%) and 5-year survival was the lowest for mesothelioma for men (5.5%) and women (3.4%).
  • Adults diagnosed with late cancer (stage 4) in 2015, which had already spread to other parts of the body, have lower 1-year survival compared with those diagnosed in the earliest stage (stage 1), with the lowest survival in lung cancer in men (17.1%) and women (21.6%).
  • Adults diagnosed with melanoma of the skin, prostate and breast cancer (women only) in the earliest stage (stage 1) now have 1-year survival that is comparable to the general population of the same age who have not been diagnosed with cancer.
  • For all childhood cancers combined, the general trend of increasing 5-year survival has continued for children (0 to 14 years), from 67.2% for those diagnosed in 1990 to 85.1% predicted for those children diagnosed in 2016; a similar increasing trend has been observed for 10-year survival.

The full document, Cancer survival in England: adult, stage at diagnosis and childhood – patients followed up to 2016 can be downloaded here

Related: Public Health England blog:  Statistics are important, but some statistics are more important than others!

Adult smoking habits in the UK: 2016

Cigarette smoking among adults including the proportion of people who smoke including demographic breakdowns, changes over time, and e-cigarettes. | Office for National Statistics

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Main points

  • In 2016, of all adult survey respondents in the UK, 15.8% smoked which equates to around 7.6 million in the population.
  • Of the constituent countries, 15.5% of adults in England smoked; for Wales, this figure was 16.9%; Scotland, 17.7% and Northern Ireland, 18.1%.
  • In the UK, 17.7% of men were current smokers which was significantly higher in comparison with 14.1% of women.
  • Those aged 18 to 24 in the UK experienced the largest decline in smoking prevalence of 6.5 percentage points since 2010.
  • Among current smokers in Great Britain, men smoked 12.0 cigarettes each day on average whereas women smoked 11.0 cigarettes each day on average; these are some of the lowest levels observed since 1974.
  • In Great Britain, 5.6% of respondents in 2016 stated they currently used an e-cigarette in 2016, which equates to approximately 2.9 million people in the population.

Access the full document: Adult smoking habits in the UK: 2016

Mouth cancer rates soar over 20 years

A new Cancer Research UK analysis reveals that rates of mouth (oral) cancer have jumped by 68% in the UK over the last 20 years.

Image source: Anne Weston – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

The figures – released during Mouth Cancer Action Month – reveal the cancer is on the rise for men and women, young and old, climbing from eight to 13 cases per 100,000 people over the last two decades.

For men under 50, the rate has jumped by 67 per cent in the last 20 years – going up from around 340 cases to around 640 cases each year. For men aged 50 and over, rates have increased by 59 per cent climbing from around 2,100 cases to around 4,400 cases annually. Oral cancer is more common in men, but there have been similar increases women.

Read the full press release here