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Response to new research on rising women's cancer rates

Fri, 03/02/2017 - 08:49

New research released today by Cancer Research UK has found cancer rates will climb nearly six times faster in women than men over the next 20 years. Cancer cases will rise by around 0.5% for men and 3% for women, meaning that an estimated 4.5 million women and 4.8 million men will be diagnosed with cancer by 2035.

Robert Music, Chief Executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, said; “It is extremely concerning to see cancer rates in women rising this fast and even more so to see projected incidence for cervical cancer is one of the highest when it remains a largely preventable disease. The rise in diagnoses goes hand in hand with the trend of declining cervical screening uptake across the country with attendance currently at a 19 year low in England and at a 10 year low in both Scotland and Wales. Cervical screening prevents 75% of cervical cancers, saving around 5,000 lives a year in the UK, and is the most effective way in preventing the disease. However, 1 in 4 women do not take up their screening invitation, and this number is even higher among certain groups for example 25-29 year olds, women with a learning and women from ethnic minorities.

Last year we released new modelling work which also found incidences of cervical cancer are set to rocket if current uptake of cervical screening remains the same. By 2040 incidences will have increased by 16% among 60-64 year olds and 85% among 70-74 year olds. A 100% increase in mortality among 60-64 year olds is also a very real threat rising to a massive 117% if screening uptake continues to decline and falls by another 5%.

Every day we see the devastating impact a cervical cancer diagnosis has on women and their families and early detection through cervical screening can significantly reduce the physical, emotional and even financial burden. A stage 1a diagnosis costs the NHS £1,379 compared to £19,261 for a stage 2 diagnosis so there is a clear case for the need for investment in prevention. It is now more vital than ever that we invest in and focus on ensuring more women understand the importance of cervical screening and the HPV vaccination in preventing cervical cancer and know the symptoms to look out for. The increased of cervical cancer for women who smoke must also be communicated. If we don’t, then quite simply lives will be lost.”

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