Death rates for oral cancer have risen, with around 2,100 people dying from the disease in 2011 in the UK, statistics from Cancer Research UK reveal. Incidence rates of oral cancer have also risen by almost 30 per cent in the last decade.
However, the latest figures also reveal that death rates for breast, lung and prostate cancer combined have fallen by almost a third in the last 20 years, which Cancer Research UK says is due to research. Breast cancer scientists, for example, have improved detection of the disease through screening, developing more specialist care and more effective treatments – such as improved surgery, radiotherapy and drugs like tamoxifen and, more recently, anastrozole and letrozole.
Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “Research continues to help save lives from cancer, and these figures offer renewed encouragement that progress continues. The UK remains a world leader in cancer research, responsible for many of the breakthroughs that have reduced the impact of cancer. But while the death rate of the four biggest cancer killers falls, it’s vital to remember that more needs to be done to help bring even better results over the coming years.
“There are over 200 different forms of the disease. For some of these, the advances are less impressive, such as pancreatic, oesophageal and liver cancer, far too many lives continue to be affected by the disease. We’re determined that the research we fund will help save more lives, developing better, kinder treatments which will beat cancer sooner.”