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Cancer survival is six times longer than 1970s

By Tom Rowley

Published 23/11/2011

People live nearly six times longer after being diagnosed with cancer now than they did 40 years ago, a report has found.

The Macmillan Cancer Support charity said that the mean survival time — the time from diagnosis until fewer than half of patients are still alive — has increased from one year to 5.8 years since 1971.

The figures vary for different cancers. For 11 out of 20 cancers studied, median survival time was more than five years. But for nine other cancers, the survival time was three years or less — with little improvement since the 1970s.

The charity said that the figures reflected “real progress” in how long people live after being diagnosed with cancer.

Patients diagnosed with six cancers, including breast, colon and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, can expect to live for longer. The median survival time is more than 10 years.

Ciaran Devane, the charity's chief executive, said: “This is a huge breakthrough in seeing the real picture of how long people are living after a cancer diagnosis.”

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From Belfast Telegraph