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500,000 expected to receive cancer diagnosis per year by 2035

Monday 17th October 2016
Demand for nurses is likely to increase as cancer diagnoses rise to 500,000 a year in the UK. Image: AlexRaths via iStock
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Nurses are likely to be in increased demand in the UK over the next few years, as new figures reveal cancer diagnoses in the country could be set to reach 500,000 per year by 2035.

This is the prediction of Cancer Research UK, which has published a new study in the British Journal of Cancer estimating that an additional 150,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer every 12 months over the next 20 years, taking the total number of patients to more than 500,000.

As a result, the NHS would likely need to recruit significantly more nurses to assist with providing care and support to patients and their loved ones.

The study also predicted that half of all people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime, but four in ten of these diagnoses could be prevented if individuals begin making changes to their lifestyle now. For example, stopping smoking, drinking less alcohol and adopting a healthier diet can all help to significantly lower the risk of developing cancer.

Overall, breast and prostate cancer are expected to be the most prevalent forms of cancer over the next 20 years, meaning awareness of potential symptoms of each needs to increase to help patients receive an earlier diagnosis and be in with a greater chance of fighting the disease.

Dr Rebecca Smittenaar, lead author of the study, commented: "The number of people getting cancer in the UK will increase sharply in the next 2 decades. This is mostly the result of an ageing and growing population, but, for women, lifestyle factors are playing an increasingly important role.

"And worryingly, recent research found that three-quarters of the population don't know there's a link between obesity and cancer, even though it's the second biggest preventable cause of the disease."

Currently, obesity is believed to be linked to around 18,100 cases of the condition each year, meaning if unhealthy lifestyles increase, cancer diagnoses are likely to as well.

Written by James Puckle

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