According to a Cancer Research UK study published in the British Journal of Cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in the UK is predicted to climb by 45% over the next twenty years, from around 298,000 in 2007 to close to 432,000 by 2030. The biggest increase is expected to occur in the male population, growing by 55% to over 230,000 in the year 2030, while the increase in the rate of cancer in women is expected to grow by 35% from approximately 149,000 cases in 2007 to over 200,000 cases in 2030. The NHS needs to start making plans for these increases as it could overwhelm their resources without the proper planning.
The primary reason cited for the increase in the number of cancer cases is that people are getting older. One example of this is that the number of cases of prostate cancer is expected to increase from around 36,000 tin 2007 to over 61,000 in 2030. However, it has also been noted that that survival rate for cancer has doubled over the last 40 years in the UK and is a trend that is likely to continue.
According to Professor Peter Sasieni, author of the study and a Cancer Research UK epidemiologist at Queen Mary, University of London, When the projection rates for cancer cases are known, then the NHS can better plan its future services and the UK can better direct its health awareness messages.
Although the number of cancer cases is expected to increase, when the rates are adjusting for the growing and aging population, they actually remain relatively stable on average for the period from 2007 to 2030, with an increase anticipated of about 400 per 100,000 men per year and 350 per 100,000 women per year. There will be some types of cancer that will see their rates increase and these will be from oral, liver and kidney cancer, especially in men. One type of cancer that will see the greatest increase is malignant melanoma, an extremely dangerous form of skin cancer that is expected to rise by an alarming 52% for both men and women.
Another type of cancer that is expected to increase at greater than normal rates is oral cancer in men with an occurrence of 10.9 per 100,000 men per year in 2007 to 13.6 per 100,000 men per year in 2030. Other forms of cancer that will see greater increases are kidney cancer rates by 28% and liver cancer rates by 27%. In women, only kidney cancer rates will increase by 18% from 2007 to 2030 while rates for liver cancer are expected to fall by 2% and the rates for breast cancer by 7% from 120 cases per 100,000 women per year in 2007 to 11 cases per 100,000 women in 2030. Researchers attribute the decline in breast cancer for women in the 55 to 64 age group due to a reduction in the of hormone replacement therapy in recent years which had been previously shown to be a significant risk factor for breast cancer.
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According to the chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, Harpal Kumar, the NHS will face an increase in its services over the next twenty years. Health commissioners need to plan and be prepared for the increased demand so that everyone can be assured of receiving the proper care and benefiting from the latest developments and treatments in cancer care.