14 July 2011
As long term legacy of cancer treatment is unveiled in new study
Cancer rates are increasing at such a rate that research shows 42% of people who die in this country will have had a cancer diagnosis. And for most of them (64%), it is cancer which causes their death. 
The number of people living with cancer has also increased in the UK by 35% in the last ten years from 1.5 to two million in 2008.  This is because more people are getting cancer, and as treatment improves, people are surviving longer with cancer.
But whilst people are certainly living longer than ever with cancer; they are not necessarily living well.
New data from a Macmillan Cancer Support study, which aims to map the cancer patient’s journey by looking at patients’ hospital activity, shows many have ongoing, long term health problems.
The study shows that of those colorectal cancer patients still alive between five and seven years after their diagnosis: 
- Two thirds (64%) will have an ongoing health problem,
- A fifth (22%) will have advanced cancers, including secondary cancer, metastatic cancer and secondary primary tumours,
- Going on half (42%) will be living with ongoing health problems like cardio vascular and intestinal illnesses, and
- Just 36% will not have any ongoing health problems related to their cancer treatment. 
Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, says:
“It is really alarming that the number of people who will get cancer is now well past one in three, and that there are so many more people with cancer today than even ten years ago.
“Our new data also shows – in more detail than we’ve ever had before - that cancer patients are experiencing issues which require support several years after initial diagnosis and treatment. The NHS really needs to recognise cancer’s long term impact on people’s lives, to plan better services and to develop more personalised care. We need services which keep people well and at home, not services which sort the problem when people arrive at A&E.
“There are currently two million people living with cancer in the UK and that number is doubling to four million over the next twenty years.  Yet no one thinks the country can afford to double its spending on cancer. We’ve therefore got to become twice as effective in how we spend that money.
“We have a massive challenge ahead if we are to keep up with the relentless toll cancer takes on people’s health, and the NHS must rise to it.”
For further information, please contact:
Andrea Shufflebotham or Rebecca Openshaw, Macmillan Cancer Support
020 7840 4689, 0207 4689 4699 (out of hours 07801 307068)
Notes to Editors:
- Macmillan estimate based on Maddams J, et al. Cancer prevalence in the United Kingdom: estimates for 2008. British Journal of Cancer. 2009. 101: 541-547; Office for National Statistics; Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland; General Register Office for Scotland; Welsh Cancer Intelligence & Surveillance Unit; Northern Ireland Cancer Registry; Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.
- Macmillan estimate based on extrapolation of prevalence data from 1992 and 2008. Forman D, et al. Cancer prevalence in the UK: results from the EUROPREVAL Study. Annals of Oncology. 2003. 14: 648–654; Maddams J, et al. Cancer prevalence in the United Kingdom: estimates for 2008. British Journal of Cancer. 2009. 101: 541-547. (Estimate assumes any increase is consistent across each nation in the UK and remains unchanged over the period)
- Wells J., et al. Using clinical attendance patterns to determine likely survivorship journey in England. NCIN Conference 2011. Data analysis is provisional and subject to clinical validation. Data are for patients in England with a diagnosis of colorectal cancer in quarter 2 2001, followed up to the end of 2007. A sample of nearly 6,000 people were taken from the National Cancer Data Repository (NCDR).
- These data relate to health problems as identified by NHS inpatient hospital activity. Through the NCDR patients’ registry data are linked to NHS inpatient hospital activity data to ascertain if patients are admitted to hospital and for what condition. Data analysis is provisional and subject to clinical validation.
- Two million people in the UK today have had a cancer diagnosis. If this number continues to rise by 3% a year, this could see four million people living with cancer by 2030. Macmillan estimate taken from and based on Maddams J, et al. Cancer prevalence in the United Kingdom: estimates for 2008. British Journal of Cancer. 2009. 101: 541-547
About Macmillan Cancer Support
Macmillan Cancer Support improves the lives of people affected by cancer, providing practical, medical, emotional and financial support and works to improve cancer care.
Visit www.macmillan.org.uk for more information.