A Cancer Research UK (CRUK) study published in the British Journal of Cancer (BJC) last week reports that more than half a million Britons a year will be diagnosed with cancer by the year 2035. This will put extra burden on NHS cancer services with extra demand for testing and treatment, making it hard for NHS services to cope.

The study showed that the number of people across the UK found to have cancer every year is expected to rise from 352,000 to an estimated 514,000 in less than 20 years; this is 162,000 extra cases annually. The vast majority of these additional cases (141,000) will be attributed to the ageing and growing population. However, over 12,000 cases will be the result of a combination of lifestyle factors, such as smoking, alcohol or poor diet, and also improved screening for the disease.

CRUK said that the big rise in the number of cancer cases diagnosed annually mean there is an “urgent need to plan for the future of NHS cancer services, which are already stretched to the limit as they struggle to cope with a growing and ageing population”.

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