Cancer Experts Predict Deaths Will Fall 15% In 20 Years Due To Research

The number of people who die from cancer is expected to plummet over the next two decades thanks to advances in research, experts have said.

There will be a 15% drop in the overall cancer death rate over the next 20 years - equating to 400,000 fewer deaths from the disease, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) said.

For every 100,000 people in the UK, 331 died from cancer in 2014.

But thanks to advances in research which have led to improvements in detection, diagnosis and treatments, by 2035 this number is predicted to drop to 280 per 100,000 people, the charity said.

CRUK, which has launched its Right Now campaign to highlight the personal impact of the disease, said part of these improved figures are due to improvements in areas like bowel cancer.

But the charity said there is still too much variation between the outcomes for patients with different types of cancer.

It warned that for some hard-to-treat cancers - such as brain tumours and pancreatic cancer - the number of deaths from the disease may not improve.

It has predicted that deaths from brain cancer are predicted to remain static over the next 20 years with around one in five surviving the disease for five years.

And only three in 100 people survive pancreatic cancer for five years or more - a figure which has remained the same for the last few decades and is not likely to improve unless there is more investment in research, the charity said.

CRUK said it is prioritising hard-to-treat cancers including pancreatic, lung, oesophageal cancers and brain tumours and has increased investment in these areas to carry out research to help improve patient outcomes.

Sir Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive, said: "Today, at this very moment, thousands of our world-class scientists and doctors are working at laboratory benches and directly with patients, trying to discover the cancer treatments of tomorrow.

"Thanks to research, fewer people will die from cancer in the future. We're resolute that, by 2034, three in four people will survive their cancer for at least 10 years.

"This will mean making more progress in breast, bowel and blood cancers, but also accelerating our effort in those cancers which are currently hard to treat.

"We've increased our research investment in those cancer types where survival remains stubbornly low. And we're thinking bigger. Right now, we're engaging the finest minds across the globe to answer the most challenging questions in cancer research.

"It's thanks to the generosity of the public that we're able to fund innovative, exciting research like this that is saving lives now and will save more lives in the future."