Survival rates for blood cancer patients in England, particularly those with myeloma, have improved dramatically this decade, a new analysis has revealed.
The analysis by the charity Bloodwise of data from the Office for National Statistics and Public Health England has shown that five-year survival from haematological cancers has increased by 6.2 percentage points since 2010. The survival improvements were greatest in myeloma, where the increase was 9.2 percentage points, achieving a five‑year survival rate of 51.7% by 2016.
The charity believes that the introduction of nearly 20 new drugs during the period from 2010 to 2016 can be attributed to the increase in survival
Survival rates of other cancers have also seen improvements in the same period but not to the same extent, the analysis found. For breast cancer the improvement was 1.7 percentage points, and for lung cancer it was 4.9 percentage points.
This was outstripped by the improvement in leukaemia, which increased from 45.8% to 52.5%. Survival from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma increased from 61.2% to 65.9%.
Dr Alasdair Rankin, Director of Research at Bloodwise, said: “The increase in survival rates for people with blood cancer is hugely encouraging. The progress made into researching more effective treatments for this kind of cancer has been truly remarkable and is one of the great cancer success stories of recent years.
“However, we must not be complacent. Blood cancer still kills over 12,000 people in England every year and for some types of blood cancer, survival is as low as two out of ten people.
“With surgery and radiotherapy rarely an option for treating this kind of cancer, it’s crucial that we keep investing in research to find new and better treatment to beat this terrible disease and so even more lives can be saved.”