29 January 2018

Campaigners have made a fresh call for investment in cancer services as the latest statistics showed increasing numbers of diagnoses.

The total number of patients diagnosed with the disease in England passed 300,000 in 2016, according to Office for National Statistics figures published yesterday.

In 2015 some 299,923 patients were diagnosed and this increased to 303,135 in 2016, an increase of more than 1%.

The statistics show that 31,928 people were diagnosed with haematological cancers in 2016 compared with 31,745 in 2015.

There was a small reduction in leukaemia diagnoses between 2015 and 2016 – but the numbers remained higher than in 2014. There were 8,208 diagnoses in 2016, 8,440 in 2015 and 8,134 in 2014.

The number of diagnoses of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma increased significantly in 2016 and were greater than in either of the two previous years - at 12,018. This compared with 11,690 in 2015 and 11,620 in 2014, the statistics show.

The raw numbers will be analysed for age, population growth, severity of disease and other factors – but Cancer Research UK said they reflect the steady increase in cancer diagnoses over the last 20 years.

The charity says the ageing of the population is the key factor underlying the increase in cancer diagnosis. Overall, age-standardised rates show a slight decline.

Sara Bainbridge, from Cancer Research UK, said the figures highlighted the pressing need for more investment in cancer diagnosis.

She said: “To do this we need enough staff on the ground, yet right now over one in ten NHS diagnostic staff posts are unfilled.

“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.”

Source: Cancer Research UK/ Office for National Statistics


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