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UK cancer cases to increase by a third by 2040

Posted on the 8th February 2023

Cancer Cases Spike

The number of people in the UK diagnosed with cancer will rise by a third by 2040.

This will take the number of new cases every year to more than half a million for the first time, experts predict.

Analysis by Cancer Research UK has shown that, based on current trends, cancer cases will rise from 384,000 cases diagnosed every year now to 506,000 in the next 17 years.

The charity has warned that the NHS risks being “overwhelmed by the sheer volume of new cancer diagnoses” unless the government acts.

While most of the rise is due to an ageing population – as older people are more likely to get cancer – the charity also said obesity and smoking will contribute to the rise.

Around four in 10 cancer cases are preventable – and these two factors are the biggest preventable causes.

Should current trends continue, smoking could be the cause of around a million cancer cases in the UK up to 2040, while more people are expected to be obese than a healthy weight.

The figures from Cancer Research UK indicate there will be 208,000 overall cancer deaths in the UK each year in the next 17 years – an increase of almost a quarter.

In total, there could be 8.4 million new cases of cancer and 3.5 million cancer deaths in the UK between 2023 and 2040.

Some 60 per cent of cases – up from 50 per cent now – and 76 per cent of deaths will be in people aged 70 and over, it added.

Cancer Research UK said the figures should act as a warning to the government, because more people will need care.

It said cancer survival in the UK lags behind that of comparable countries and the NHS is not on track to achieve its aim of diagnosing three-quarters of cancers at stage 1 or 2 by 2028.

The figures show that the number of people diagnosed with kidney cancer every year is projected to increase by 61 per cent, from around 13,600 to around 21,900.

The number of women dying from womb cancer could rise by 68 per cent, from around 2,500 to around 4,200.

Deaths from liver cancer are projected to jump from 6,000 to around 9,500 every year.

Related: Cervical cancer screening hits 10-year low

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