A new report by Macmillan Cancer Support shows that people with cancer now live on average nearly six times longer after cancer diagnosis than they did 40 years ago, thanks to medical advances and new cancer drugs.
The Charity analysed research by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Median survival time for all cancers has increased from one year to six years.
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For 11 out of 20 cancers studied, median survival time was predicted to be more than five years. But for nine other cancers, the survival time was three years or less – with little improvement since the 1970s.
For example, in the past 40 years the median survival time for colon cancer has increased from around 7 months to ten years, and the breast cancer median time has doubled since the 1970s.
In contrast, lung and brain cancer median survival rates have improved by weeks rather than years, and pancreatic cancer median survival time has increased by just three weeks (from nine to 12 weeks).
Macmillan believes this disparity is due to the amount of funding in different areas. Research into breast cancer accounted for 20% of tumour-specific research funding in 2010, whilst research into other cancers was much lower.
Ciarán Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said:
"It is clear that much, much more money needs to be put into research, surgery and treatment for the cancers with the poorest prognosis."
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