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Cancer

Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 17 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect of the Government's strategy on cancer on the rates of those diagnosed with cancer in each year since 2001. (243178)

Since 2001, the incidence of cancer has increased, this is explained by our aging population and people living longer.

Cancer incidence in England

Number of new cancer cases

Male

Female

2006

242,200

121,600

120,600

2005

239,000

119,600

119,400

2004

233,600

117,800

115,800

2003

227,400

112,700

114,700

2002

223,800

112,600

111,200

2001

224,600

112,500

112,100

Cancer statistics are collected routinely and are used to aid both policy development and as proxy indicators for the affect of implemented policy.

In general, the earlier a cancer can be diagnosed, the greater the chance of a cure. Both the NHS Cancer Plan (published 2000) and the Cancer Reform Strategy (published 2007) (a copy of which has already been placed in the Library) included programmes of work that attempt to achieve this. Since 2000, we now have:

Faster diagnosis and treatment; waiting times for cancer care have reduced dramatically.

More cancers detected through screening; including the introduction of the bowel- screening programme.

Improved access to better treatments.

A National Awareness and Early Detection Initiative (NAEDI)

We have assessed the wider impact of these cancer strategies by looking at their affect on mortality rates over an extended period. Mortality rates in people under 75 have fallen by 17 per cent. between 1996 and 2005. This performance means that we are expecting to exceed our prostate specific antigen target of a minimum 20 per cent. reduction in cancer mortality by 2010 from 1995 to 1997 rate.