The previous Government set a measly target to bring the UK up to the average survival rates for Europe; an increase of just 3% after 5 years. How can we achieve a breakthrough in the battle against cancer when our aim is to do no better than other countries are already doing? And meanwhile, other countries are probably investing more, setting more ambitious targets and forging even further ahead.
For many, these fears don't evaporate when they finish treatment. We spoke to post-cancer patients and found that nearly a third (30%*) felt under pressure to 'bounce back' more quickly that they would have liked after treatment. For more than a quarter (28%) the expected 'euphoria' of being given the 'all clear' was actually replaced by the fact they simply felt 'emotionally drained'.
The C-word is already the disease we're most scared of, and the one we (think we) know most about. Just take any hypochondriac you know, and how many times per month they self-diagnose with a terminal illness. Cancer symptoms are vague and unspecific in young people (the top culprits are persistent and unexplained pain, lumps, bumps or swelling; significant weight loss; extreme tiredness; changes in a mole)...
Listening to the news about NICE turning down yet another cancer drug has made me very sad and a little puzzled. In the space of 10 days two new drugs - Kadcyla and Abiraterone, that would give valuable extra time to breast and prostate cancer sufferers respectively, have been refused because of cost.
The rise is being put down to women taking the pill and having children later, though there are likely to be other factors contributing as well. Organisations are stressing for women not to worry about these figures, and for them just to keep checking their breasts for any differences in feel, size and pain. However it is not necessarily those things that will cause the most worry. instead, it is likely to be a bigger worry to younger people again.