LIFESTYLE

Cancer Patients More Likely To Survive Disease, Says Macmillan Cancer Support

12/06/2013 11:02 BST
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Around 400,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with cancer and have survived for more than a decade, figures show.

Macmillan Cancer Support said that around 260,000 women and 140,000 men have survived cancer between ten and 20 years after diagnosis.

New research, conducted by the charity and the National Cancer Intelligence Network, examines data about how long people live after being diagnosed with the disease.

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The findings show that a similar number of men and women survive the early years after diagnosis, however a gap between the sexes widens over time.

Last week, the charity said by 2020 almost half of the population will be expected to get cancer during their lifetime.

But it warned that though more people are surviving cancer, they are not necessarily living well. There is growing evidence that many do not return to full health after gruelling treatments and the serious side effects of the disease.

"Whilst this is cause for celebration that more people are surviving cancer, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels," said charity chief executive and HuffPost UK blogger Ciaran Devane.

"The more successful we are with treatment and cure, the more people there will be living with the long-term effects of cancer and its treatment.

"By 2020 almost half the population in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, so we need to tackle the under-treatment of its long-term effects now.

"No one should be left to face the consequences of their cancer alone. Specialist services must be commissioned and more support given to GPs so they can identify the needs of cancer survivors and deliver personalised care in the community."

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Susan Winter, 69 from Essex, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993 and has since had problems with lymphoedema as a consequence of her breast cancer operation. She says:

"My GP was very sympathetic and supported me through my treatment, but he admitted he had no idea what to do about my lymphoedema and what to suggest next. I also found that nurses at the hospital weren’t aware of it, with one even asking me if I had burned my arm.

"It gradually got worse and my arm was hugely swollen – I found this very upsetting as I couldn’t fit clothes properly because of my arm. If I hadn’t had family and friends nearby I would have felt very isolated, as I couldn’t drive when my arm was bad. It took me quite a long time to get the right treatment, and I still have problems with it to this day."