Cancer patients twice as likely to live 10 years post diagnosis

People diagnosed with cancer are twice as likely to live at least 10 years after diagnosis than they were at the beginning of the seventies, research shows.

More than 170,000 people in the UK who were diagnosed with cancer in the 1970s and 1980s are still alive today - an "extraordinary number", Macmillan Cancer Support said in its report.

The increase in long-term survivors is down to sophisticated treatment, combined with an ageing population, although there is still a huge variation in survival rates between cancer types.

However, the cancer charity warned that the consequences were increasing demand on the NHS, as more people were living longer with long-term health issues and side-effects.

Macmillan chief executive Lynda Thomas said: "More and more people are being diagnosed with cancer and, in general, having a more sophisticated life with their cancer than perhaps they would have done.

"What we are now seeing is that lot of people are coming in and out of treatment, so all of that does put pressure on the NHS."

Around 625,000 are estimated to be facing disability or poor health after being treated for cancer - these can range from lower-leg swelling in women following breast cancer, to emotional trauma.

With the numbers of people living with cancer in the UK set to grow from 2.5 million to four million by 2030, more people will need access to vital medical services and support.