New figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) indicate that survival rates for certain types of cancer have declined and that Britain is lagging behind several other nations.
According to the data, progress against six of the major types of cancer, which affect around 20000 people in the UK each year, is stagnating, and in some instances, the five-year survival rate is declining.
The report warns that the survival rates for many of the most common cancers, including ovarian, lung, bowel and breast, are lower than those in other countries, including Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Canada and Australia.
The figures indicate that among females, survival rates are becoming worse for bladder and thyroid cancers, while pancreatic cancer rates are stagnating.
The figures for 2008 to 2012 indicate that for males, survival has become worse for thyroid and testicular cancer, whilst there is no improvement at all for mesothelioma.
The chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, Ciarán Devane, said his concern is that Britain is not doing enough to reach the levels of other countries. He said they are aware that the country has a long way to go to catch up with the rest of Europe regarding survival rates.
Mr. Devane has called on all the political parties in the country to make the poor cancer survival rates a priority.
The figures indicate that the five-year survival rate for bladder cancer has declined from 49.1% among women who received diagnoses from 2007 to 2011, to 48% among those diagnosed from 2008 to 2012.
For men, the survival rate for thyroid cancer declined by 1.1% for the same period, to 81.8%. The figures indicate that the survival rates for testicular cancer, which had shown a dramatic improvement over the past 10 years, have declined by 0.5% to 97.3%.
Progress in tackling pancreatic cancer in females has stagnated, with only 5.4% of those suffering from the disease surviving for at least five years. Survival rates for males were previously worse, but are now on the same level.
The figures indicate a slight decline in survival rates for males suffering mesothelioma, as well as for women suffering Hodgkin lymphoma.
The most marked improvements in the five-year survival rate were for myeloma, which is a form of bone marrow cancer. In this category, the survival rate improved by 3.9% for males, to reach 46.7%, and by 4.6% for females, to reach 46.2%.
The survival rate for breast cancer improved by 0.8%, to reach 86.1%, while for bowel cancer, the rate increased by 1.4% in males, to reach 58%, and by 0.3% in females, to reach 57.6%.
Image Credit: Ed Uthman