The National Picture
Cancer in the UK is considered one of the ‘big killers’ with breast, lung, bowel and prostate cancers together accounting for over half of all new cancers each year. There are more than 200 types of cancer, each with different causes, symptoms and treatments. Around 360,000 people were diagnosed with cancer per year in the UK – that’s around 990 people every day (2013-2015).
Cancer incidence rates in the UK have risen by 3% in males and by 16% in females since the early 1990s. Overall this is an increase incidence of 13%. Incidence rates between 2014 and 2025 are projected to rise by 2% in the UK. Compared to other EU countries, incidence rates in men are lower but are higher amongst women.
Cancer can develop at any age but it is most common in older people. As of 2013-2015, each year 36% of all cancers are diagnosed in people aged 75 and over. Cancer types can also be more common amongst certain age group than others.
As of 2010-2011, half of all people diagnosed with cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for ten years or more. Survival is higher amongst women than men and has doubled in the UK over the last 40 years. However, five-year survival for women is below the European average in England, Wales and Scotland.
In Thames Valley
Thames Valley has a population of approximately 2.3 million people. Within the region the population generally enjoys good health, as measured across a range of factors.
For example, residents have a higher life expectancy at birth compared to the national average. The proportion of the adult population who smoke is also less than the national average. The smoking rate has decreased to 14.7% (2018) with an aim to reduce it to 10.8% by 2021.
Within the Thames Valley Cancer Alliance area, 52.8% of all cancers are staged at stages 1 or 2 (2015). This is a marked increase over the figure of 33.2% in 2012. The region is also fast approaching the target of having 80% of all cancers accurately staged, with a figure of 78% in 2015.
The Alliance has enjoyed success in improving the quality of patient care through initiatives such as the head and neck cancer Closer to Home project. This involves the creation of a new head and neck cancer clinic at Great Western Hospital. This will enable patients in the Swindon and Wiltshire areas to avoid having to travel to Oxford for much of the care involved in their cancer treatment.