The number of teenagers and young adults dying from cancer has almost halved in the last three decades, figures show.
Between 1975 and 1977, 580 youngsters aged 15 to 24 died from the disease every year in Britain. The number fell to about 300 a year between 2008 and 2010, Cancer Research UK said.
The largest drop in deaths over the last 15 years was for leukaemia - from an average of 54 young men dying from the disease each year between 1995 and 1999 to 39 deaths in 2006 to 2010. And for young women the death toll fell from 38 to 21 deaths per year.
While the death rates have fallen, the incidence is rising for almost all types of teenage and young adult cancers, the charity said.
Cancer Research UK teenage cancer expert Professor Jillian Birch said: "We've made great progress in helping more teenagers and young adults survive cancer, and today over 80% will beat the disease.
"But there remains a problem with getting teenagers and young adults on to clinical trials - less than 20% are on trials compared to around 50 to 70% of children.
"We need to drastically improve this so that we can develop better treatments, help more teenagers and young adults survive the disease and offer hope to patients with harder to treat cancers."
Simon Davies, chief executive officer of the Teenage Cancer Trust, said: "It's fantastic to see such a fall in the number of young people dying from some types of cancers during this time.
"However, many of the rarer cancers which affect young people like sarcomas have made little or no progress.
"More investment in rare cancer research is urgently needed. We want to work with Cancer Research UK and the pharmaceutical industry to ensure better access to clinical trials for young people with cancer."
Dr Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive, added: "Being diagnosed with cancer is a devastating time for patients, their family and friends.
"More needs to be done to make treatments more effective and kinder.
"Drug development and clinical trials are at the heart of helping more teenagers and young adults both survive cancer and live a full life after their treatment.
"Too many young people are left out of clinical trials due to rigid age restrictions and this must change for us to continue to see improvements across all cancer types.
"But we've got to take this challenge on from different and creative angles."
Also on HuffPost:
A lump or swelling anywhere on your body needs checking out
AXA’s research found that 79% of people were able to correctly identify breast lumps as a potential indicator of cancer. But a lump or swelling in any part of the body, including the armpit, neck, abdomen, groin or chest area, is worth having checked by a doctor.
Talk about your toilet habits
Diarrhoea or changes in bowel habits are most likely to be caused by a stomach bug or eating something that disagrees with you. But if you’re noticing changes that have lasted more than a few days, for example if your bowel movements are looser for three weeks or more, or you notice any blood when you’ve been to the toilet, then make an appointment to get it checked out.
Sores and ulcers should disappear quickly – investigate them if they don’t
A lot of people get mouth ulcers when their immune system is low or they’re stressed. Generally they’re nothing to worry about and, as the lining of the mouth regenerates itself every couple of weeks, shouldn’t last long. But any ulcer that hasn’t healed after three weeks merits attention from your doctor or dentist. The same goes for any sore or spot that lasts for several weeks without healing – get it checked by a doctor.
Difficult passing urine – not just an inevitable consequence of age
Many men find it more difficult to pass urine as they get older, needing to go more often or urgently or being unable to go when they need to. These problems are usually caused by an enlarged prostate, which is a common condition that is not in itself cause for concern. But occasionally these symptoms can be a sign of prostate cancer – either way, men experiencing these symptoms should see their GP. Similarly, while urinary tract infections are the most likely cause of women having pain or difficulty passing urine, this should pass relatively quickly. If it doesn’t, then any sudden urges to pass urine or the need to go more often should be discussed with your doctor.
Lost weight without dieting?
It’s natural for most people’s weight to fluctuate over time. But if you haven’t instigated any changes in your diet or exercise regime and have obviously lost weight, then talk to your doctor. And if you’re experiencing heavy night sweats you should seek medical advice – these don’t always have a sinister cause, and can be brought about by certain infections or medications, but they’re worth checking.
Coughing up blood needs to be checked out
If you’ve coughed up any blood, you should see your doctor, regardless of the amount of blood or frequency. It can be a sign of lung cancer, so needs to be checked out.
Coughs and sore throats
Most of us will experience coughs or croaky voices at some point, normally when we’ve had a cold. But as with many other changes to your body, anything that hasn’t gone away after three weeks or so should be investigated.
Educate yourself on what to look out for
AXA’s research found women were more likely than men to identify key cancer warning signs, including breast lumps, changes in bowel habits and irregular moles. But for both men and women, ensuring you’re aware of symptoms to keep an eye out for is important. Knowledge is power: understanding what you’re looking for means you can any changes checked out quickly.
Know your own body
AXA’s research found only 6% of men and 3% of women check their bodies daily for anything unusual. But understanding what’s normal for your own body is essential if you’re to spot when anything has changed. If you do notice changes that are persisting for a long time, or causing you pain and discomfort, then see your GP.
Don’t put off seeing the doctor!
A sizeable 61% of people AXA spoke to admitted they’d delayed seeing their doctor when they spotted changes that could be potential flags for cancer. But early detection of any problems can make a huge difference if any treatment is then needed. Similarly, if changes are harmless your doctor will be able to reassure you. Overall, the sooner you go to see your GP, the better.