Six forms of can­cer ‘su­per-deadly’ – study

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

LON­DON: Pa­tients with the six dead­li­est forms of can­cer are five times less likely to sur­vive for five years or more com­pared to pa­tients with one of 11 other forms of the dis­ease, new re­search has found.

Sur­vival rates for pan­cre­atic, liver, brain, lung, oe­sophageal and stom­ach can­cer are cur­rently “un­ac­cept­able”, ac­cord­ing to a new task force made up of five char­i­ties.

The chance that peo­ple with these forms of can­cer will live be­yond five years is 14%, it said, far be­low the 64% for peo­ple with more sur­viv­able can­cers such as breast, prostate and bowel can­cer.

Lack of re­search into rarer and more deadly can­cers is one of a num­ber of fac­tors be­hind this dis­par­ity, along with late di­ag­no­sis, low aware­ness of symp­toms and a lack of treat­ment op­tions, said the Less Sur­viv­able Can­cers Task­force.

Over the past year, these six forms of can­cer re­ceived 17% of UK re­search fund­ing for com­mon can­cers, with the re­main­der of the fund­ing given to the 11 more sur­viv­able forms of the dis­ease.

The group, a co-oper­a­tion be­tween Pan­cre­atic Can­cer UK, the Bri­tish Liver Trust, the Brain Tu­mour Char­ity, Ac­tion Against Heart­burn and Core, a char­ity fight­ing di­ges­tive dis­eases, was to be for­mally launched to­day.

John Baron, MP for Basil­don and Bil­ler­icay and chair of the All-Party Par­lia­men­tary Group on Can­cer, who is spon­sor­ing the launch, said the find­ings were “very con­cern­ing”.

“While over the past 40 years the five-year sur­vival rate has al­most dou­bled for breast can­cer and prostate can­cer, these six less sur­viv­able can­cers are more or less as deadly as they were in the 1970s,” he said.

Pan­cre­atic Can­cer UK has warned that a lack of new di­ag­no­sis meth­ods means the dis­ease will claim an in­creas­ing num­ber of lives over the next decade and over­take breast can­cer to be­come the fourth most deadly form of can­cer over­all.

The dis­ease, some­times called the “silent killer” as the symp­toms are so dif­fi­cult to spot, will claim an es­ti­mated 11 279 lives each year by 2026 – a 28% rise on the 8 817 who died of pan­cre­atic can­cer in 2014.

The only live-sav­ing treat­ment avail­able for pan­cre­atic can­cer, whose symp­toms in­clude jaun­dice, ab­dom­i­nal pain, un­ex­plained weight loss and in­di­ges­tion, is an oper­a­tion to re­move the tu­mour.

How­ever, in 92% of cases the can­cer is not caught early enough for surgery, mean­ing it has the low­est sur­vival rate of all can­cers.

The six dead­li­est can­cers cause more than half – 51% – of all deaths for com­mon can­cers an­nu­ally, caus­ing close to 70 000 fa­tal­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to the new task force. – The In­de­pen­dent

PIC­TURE: MATT ROURKE / AP

BAD NEWS: Sur­vival rates for the lead­ing forms of can­cer are a big worry.

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