Tag Archives: cancer

What’s your reaction to the NHS ‘breakthrough’ breast cancer drug?

Two ‘breakthrough’ breast cancer drugs are to be available on the NHS after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) negotiated prices for the treatments.

The standard price for one cycle of palbociclib is £2,950 for a pack of 21 capsules. The list price for one cycle of ribociclib is also £2,950 but this is for 63 tablets. The company had first offered the drug at a price that was rejected by NICE, but they had later come to a “confidential agreement around the price”.

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, described the drugs as among the “most important breakthroughs” for women with advanced cancer in the last two decades.

Around 8,000 people in England with previously untreatable breast cancer will now have access to palbociclib and ribociclib which have been shown to slow the progression of advanced cancer by at least 10 months, and can delay the need for chemotherapy.

The latest draft guidance from Nice said that women with oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer that is diagnosed after it has begun to spread will be eligible for palbociclib – also known as Ibrance. If they have gone through the menopause, they will be eligible for ribociclib – also known as Kisqali.

Take part

If you’ve been affected by the story, we’d like to hear from you. We’d also like to hear from medical professionals and people who work in the pharmaceutical industry about what this means for the availability of other drugs.

You can fill in the encrypted form below – anonymously if you prefer – and we’ll use a selection of responses in our reporting.

You can also email: carmen.fishwick@theguardian.com

Behind Belle Gibson’s cancer con: ‘Everything about this story is extreme’

More than two years after her very public exposure and disgrace, the spectre of Belle Gibson still strikes fear into her former associates, even those who once called her their friend.

Or so found the writers Beau Donelly and Nick Toscano when researching their new book about the wellness entrepreneur’s astonishing downfall, The Woman Who Fooled the World. The two journalists had done some of the earliest investigative reporting on Gibson, revealing in 2015 that the young Instagram star, who claimed to have healed her own brain cancer solely through diet, had raised substantial funds for charity with the help of her hundreds of thousands of followers – and then had not donated the money. The revelation led to increased scrutiny on the health claims that formed the foundation of Gibson’s wellness business, which included a cookbook and app named The Whole Pantry – claims that quickly began to fall apart.

Beau Donelly


Beau Donelly: ‘People thought she was lying. It only was believed when she was sending her story out online.’ Photograph: Chris Hopkins

But when Donelly and Toscano went hunting for the full facts from Gibson’s colleagues and friends, including those at Apple and Penguin who had lent Gibson their organisations’ huge commercial clout, they found the process was like pulling teeth.

“Her name was poison,” Toscano tells Guardian Australia. “I can’t think of another story I’ve covered that’s been so difficult to get people to speak to me.”

“We were shut down by dozens and dozens of people,” Donelly says. “We were threatened with lawsuits by others. It was incredibly difficult.”

Gibson herself declined to be interviewed and, though the authors secured some key on-the-record interviews – including talks with Gibson’s grandmother and estranged mother – many sources only agreed to speak to the authors anonymously and only after extensive negotiation, even those whose association with Gibson seemed innocuous.

The phenomenon that emerges in The Woman Who Fooled the World is deliriously complex and multifaceted: a combination of faults both individual and institutional, and of social trends both centuries old and very, very new. “There’s nothing new in cancer scamming,” Toscano points out. “There have always been snake-oil salespeople. There have always been people like [Gibson]. But where this story differs is her explosion to success, and her incredible reach was made possible by a number of intensely modern forces.”

Nick Toscano:


Nick Toscano: ‘It’s hard not to think that the shaming of Belle Gibson crossed a line.’ Photograph: Justin McManus

These forces include the rise of a wellness industry that, in its worst manifestations, has become dangerously untethered from best medical practice. This is coupled with the emergence of social media and online “influencers”, and seismic shifts in the media industry that have radically changed how the public consumes news.

“The way information flows has changed a lot,” Toscano says. “The Gibson story is a really good example, I think, in the sense that she flourished and developed 200,000 followers without ever having gone through the checks and balances that are provided by traditional media.”

At the time of The Whole Pantry’s public collapse, “fake news” was not yet the meme-ified concept it became in the wake of the 2016 US election, but it was evidently on Toscano and Donelly’s minds as they wrote their book. Gibson’s story does seem to reflect some essential quirk in online media that facilitates, if not encourages, the spread of misinformation and untruth.

“Pretty much everything Belle had said about her varying illnesses in the years before she took to Instagram to post about having terminal brain cancer wasn’t really believed,” Donelly says, and the authors draw on testimony from old friends and classmates that paint Gibson as a habitual fibber. “People called her out on it, people thought she was lying. It only was believed when she was sending her story out online. And her whole business grew online.”

Just as Gibson’s rise exemplified some of the worst habits of online media, so did her downfall. Donelly and Toscano draw on the British journalist Jon Ronson’s 2015 book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed to explore the violent outcry – including death threats and the circulation of her personal information – that accompanied Gibson’s fall from grace.


You don’t want someone googling your name and having it come up against Belle Gibson’s

Nick Toscano

“Her scam was so against the norms of society that it does deserve condemnation,” Toscano says. “But when you delve into the social media damnation that she bore the brunt of, it’s hard not to think that the shaming of Belle Gibson crossed a line.”

Donelly says: “Ten years ago her public shaming would not have happened to this extent. Everything about this story is extreme.”

The book captures the spread of the Gibson phenomenon but there’s still a sense that there are depths yet to be plumbed. The specifics of her personal pathology will probably never be publicly revealed, along with certain elements of her biography, and the involvement and culpability of her various friends and associates as The Whole Pantry scam took flight.

“Like any story, all the facts aren’t available,” Donelly says, “and we can really only run with what we can substantiate. I think there are so many unanswered questions.”

If parts of Gibson’s story are still murky, it’s because the same people who refused to ask questions of her as she rose to prominence now refuse to respond to questions about her in the aftermath of her disgrace.

Cover image for The Woman Who Fooled the World

“People don’t want their names anywhere near hers,” Toscano says. “Young people who are among Belle Gibson’s age bracket – her group of friends and business partners – are more aware of their online footprint now. You don’t want someone googling your name and having it come up against Belle Gibson’s. That digital footprint is very hard to erase.”

Many of her associates are still operating in social media and wellness industry circles today, a fact that lends a self-interested air to their refusal to account for Gibson’s meteoric rise. “There’s a hesitation from some of those people because any scrutiny on the industry that they belong to is bad for business, and bad for them personally,” Donelly says.

“I think a lot of these people have some things to answer for. A lot of them took her story hook, line and sinker, and they endorsed her, and they partnered with her, and they used her – and she used them.”

The Woman Who Fooled the World is out on 13 November through Scribe

Thousands with advanced cancer are surviving two years or more, data shows

Thousands of people in England with the most advanced stage of cancer are surviving for several years after diagnosis thanks to improved treatment and care, research shows.

Macmillan Cancer Support and Public Health England’s (PHE) National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service found that at least 17,000 people have survived for two years or more after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, when the disease has already spread to at least one other part of their body.

The figure, which has not previously been available, includes at least 1,600 women diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and 6,400 men diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. It also includes at least 1,200 people diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and at least 2,300 people diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer.

Adrienne Betteley, Macmillan’s specialist adviser for end of life care, said: “Advances in treatment and care mean that a growing number of people have cancer that cannot be cured, but can be managed by treatments that alleviate the symptoms and may also prolong their life.

“This is really positive news, but living with advanced cancer can be a difficult situation to be in. As well as dealing with the physical symptoms of cancer and having multiple hospital appointments, scans and treatment options to contend with, there’s also the emotional and psychological impact of having an uncertain future.”

The research, revealed on Wednesday at the 2017 National Cancer Research Institute Conference in Liverpool, is based on data from England’s national cancer registry.

It captures people who were diagnosed with one of 10 common types of cancer between 2012 and 2013 and were still alive at the end of 2015.

The 17,000 is certain to be an underestimate, as there were a further 43,000 patients alive in 2015 who were diagnosed two to four years previously, but whose stage at diagnosis was not recorded in the registry. Many of those patients are also likely to have had stage 4 of the disease, also known as secondary or metastatic cancer.

Macmillan said the figures highlight the changing nature of the disease and expressed the hope that patients whose options were previously limited could see their cancer become more “treatable” and manageable, like other chronic illnesses.

Carol Fenton, 55, from London, was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2015 and said her life since has been a “rollercoaster” of periods when her symptoms are settled and others when changes in scan results necessitate changes in treatment. She said: “It is hard to plan family activities a long way into the future, so we plan our life around my three-monthly scans. I’m concentrating on what I can do, rather than what I can’t, and I’m hoping that I will stay as well as possible for as long as possible, yet being realistic about preparing for when my condition progresses, not knowing if this will be in a few months, a year, or within five years or more.”

Several studies have suggested that cancer survival rates in the UK lag behind those of other European countries. For instance, survival rates for breast cancer are a decade behind countries including France and Sweden, according to one piece of research. Another found that the average adult five-year survival rates for patients diagnosed with eight common types of cancer between 2000 and 2007, were lower in the UK than the European average. Experts have flagged the need for earlier diagnosis and improved access to treatments.

Dr Jem Rashbass, cancer lead at PHE, said it was imperative people got diagnosed earlier, which was why the agency was running the Be Clear on Cancer campaigns to educate the public on the signs and symptoms of the disease.

Rashbass described the cancer registry data as “an invaluable resource in helping us to track improvements in cancer outcomes and gain more understanding of the implications for those living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis”.

The 10 types of cancer in the Macmillan and PHE study were: bladder; female breast; colorectal; kidney, renal pelvis and ureter; lung, trachea and bronchus; melanoma of skin; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; ovary; prostate and uterine cancer.

Thousands with advanced cancer are surviving two years or more, data shows

Thousands of people in England with the most advanced stage of cancer are surviving for several years after diagnosis thanks to improved treatment and care, research shows.

Macmillan Cancer Support and Public Health England’s (PHE) National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service found that at least 17,000 people have survived for two years or more after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, when the disease has already spread to at least one other part of their body.

The figure, which has not previously been available, includes at least 1,600 women diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and 6,400 men diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. It also includes at least 1,200 people diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and at least 2,300 people diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer.

Adrienne Betteley, Macmillan’s specialist adviser for end of life care, said: “Advances in treatment and care mean that a growing number of people have cancer that cannot be cured, but can be managed by treatments that alleviate the symptoms and may also prolong their life.

“This is really positive news, but living with advanced cancer can be a difficult situation to be in. As well as dealing with the physical symptoms of cancer and having multiple hospital appointments, scans and treatment options to contend with, there’s also the emotional and psychological impact of having an uncertain future.”

The research, revealed on Wednesday at the 2017 National Cancer Research Institute Conference in Liverpool, is based on data from England’s national cancer registry.

It captures people who were diagnosed with one of 10 common types of cancer between 2012 and 2013 and were still alive at the end of 2015.

The 17,000 is certain to be an underestimate, as there were a further 43,000 patients alive in 2015 who were diagnosed two to four years previously, but whose stage at diagnosis was not recorded in the registry. Many of those patients are also likely to have had stage 4 of the disease, also known as secondary or metastatic cancer.

Macmillan said the figures highlight the changing nature of the disease and expressed the hope that patients whose options were previously limited could see their cancer become more “treatable” and manageable, like other chronic illnesses.

Carol Fenton, 55, from London, was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2015 and said her life since has been a “rollercoaster” of periods when her symptoms are settled and others when changes in scan results necessitate changes in treatment. She said: “It is hard to plan family activities a long way into the future, so we plan our life around my three-monthly scans. I’m concentrating on what I can do, rather than what I can’t, and I’m hoping that I will stay as well as possible for as long as possible, yet being realistic about preparing for when my condition progresses, not knowing if this will be in a few months, a year, or within five years or more.”

Several studies have suggested that cancer survival rates in the UK lag behind those of other European countries. For instance, survival rates for breast cancer are a decade behind countries including France and Sweden, according to one piece of research. Another found that the average adult five-year survival rates for patients diagnosed with eight common types of cancer between 2000 and 2007, were lower in the UK than the European average. Experts have flagged the need for earlier diagnosis and improved access to treatments.

Dr Jem Rashbass, cancer lead at PHE, said it was imperative people got diagnosed earlier, which was why the agency was running the Be Clear on Cancer campaigns to educate the public on the signs and symptoms of the disease.

Rashbass described the cancer registry data as “an invaluable resource in helping us to track improvements in cancer outcomes and gain more understanding of the implications for those living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis”.

The 10 types of cancer in the Macmillan and PHE study were: bladder; female breast; colorectal; kidney, renal pelvis and ureter; lung, trachea and bronchus; melanoma of skin; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; ovary; prostate and uterine cancer.

Thousands with advanced cancer are surviving two years or more, data shows

Thousands of people in England with the most advanced stage of cancer are surviving for several years after diagnosis thanks to improved treatment and care, research shows.

Macmillan Cancer Support and Public Health England’s (PHE) National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service found that at least 17,000 people have survived for two years or more after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, when the disease has already spread to at least one other part of their body.

The figure, which has not previously been available, includes at least 1,600 women diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and 6,400 men diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. It also includes at least 1,200 people diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and at least 2,300 people diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer.

Adrienne Betteley, Macmillan’s specialist adviser for end of life care, said: “Advances in treatment and care mean that a growing number of people have cancer that cannot be cured, but can be managed by treatments that alleviate the symptoms and may also prolong their life.

“This is really positive news, but living with advanced cancer can be a difficult situation to be in. As well as dealing with the physical symptoms of cancer and having multiple hospital appointments, scans and treatment options to contend with, there’s also the emotional and psychological impact of having an uncertain future.”

The research, revealed on Wednesday at the 2017 National Cancer Research Institute Conference in Liverpool, is based on data from England’s national cancer registry.

It captures people who were diagnosed with one of 10 common types of cancer between 2012 and 2013 and were still alive at the end of 2015.

The 17,000 is certain to be an underestimate, as there were a further 43,000 patients alive in 2015 who were diagnosed two to four years previously, but whose stage at diagnosis was not recorded in the registry. Many of those patients are also likely to have had stage 4 of the disease, also known as secondary or metastatic cancer.

Macmillan said the figures highlight the changing nature of the disease and expressed the hope that patients whose options were previously limited could see their cancer become more “treatable” and manageable, like other chronic illnesses.

Carol Fenton, 55, from London, was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2015 and said her life since has been a “rollercoaster” of periods when her symptoms are settled and others when changes in scan results necessitate changes in treatment. She said: “It is hard to plan family activities a long way into the future, so we plan our life around my three-monthly scans. I’m concentrating on what I can do, rather than what I can’t, and I’m hoping that I will stay as well as possible for as long as possible, yet being realistic about preparing for when my condition progresses, not knowing if this will be in a few months, a year, or within five years or more.”

Several studies have suggested that cancer survival rates in the UK lag behind those of other European countries. For instance, survival rates for breast cancer are a decade behind countries including France and Sweden, according to one piece of research. Another found that the average adult five-year survival rates for patients diagnosed with eight common types of cancer between 2000 and 2007, were lower in the UK than the European average. Experts have flagged the need for earlier diagnosis and improved access to treatments.

Dr Jem Rashbass, cancer lead at PHE, said it was imperative people got diagnosed earlier, which was why the agency was running the Be Clear on Cancer campaigns to educate the public on the signs and symptoms of the disease.

Rashbass described the cancer registry data as “an invaluable resource in helping us to track improvements in cancer outcomes and gain more understanding of the implications for those living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis”.

The 10 types of cancer in the Macmillan and PHE study were: bladder; female breast; colorectal; kidney, renal pelvis and ureter; lung, trachea and bronchus; melanoma of skin; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; ovary; prostate and uterine cancer.

Thousands with advanced cancer are surviving two years or more, data shows

Thousands of people in England with the most advanced stage of cancer are surviving for several years after diagnosis thanks to improved treatment and care, research shows.

Macmillan Cancer Support and Public Health England’s (PHE) National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service found that at least 17,000 people have survived for two years or more after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, when the disease has already spread to at least one other part of their body.

The figure, which has not previously been available, includes at least 1,600 women diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and 6,400 men diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. It also includes at least 1,200 people diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and at least 2,300 people diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer.

Adrienne Betteley, Macmillan’s specialist adviser for end of life care, said: “Advances in treatment and care mean that a growing number of people have cancer that cannot be cured, but can be managed by treatments that alleviate the symptoms and may also prolong their life.

“This is really positive news, but living with advanced cancer can be a difficult situation to be in. As well as dealing with the physical symptoms of cancer and having multiple hospital appointments, scans and treatment options to contend with, there’s also the emotional and psychological impact of having an uncertain future.”

The research, revealed on Wednesday at the 2017 National Cancer Research Institute Conference in Liverpool, is based on data from England’s national cancer registry.

It captures people who were diagnosed with one of 10 common types of cancer between 2012 and 2013 and were still alive at the end of 2015.

The 17,000 is certain to be an underestimate, as there were a further 43,000 patients alive in 2015 who were diagnosed two to four years previously, but whose stage at diagnosis was not recorded in the registry. Many of those patients are also likely to have had stage 4 of the disease, also known as secondary or metastatic cancer.

Macmillan said the figures highlight the changing nature of the disease and expressed the hope that patients whose options were previously limited could see their cancer become more “treatable” and manageable, like other chronic illnesses.

Carol Fenton, 55, from London, was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2015 and said her life since has been a “rollercoaster” of periods when her symptoms are settled and others when changes in scan results necessitate changes in treatment. She said: “It is hard to plan family activities a long way into the future, so we plan our life around my three-monthly scans. I’m concentrating on what I can do, rather than what I can’t, and I’m hoping that I will stay as well as possible for as long as possible, yet being realistic about preparing for when my condition progresses, not knowing if this will be in a few months, a year, or within five years or more.”

Several studies have suggested that cancer survival rates in the UK lag behind those of other European countries. For instance, survival rates for breast cancer are a decade behind countries including France and Sweden, according to one piece of research. Another found that the average adult five-year survival rates for patients diagnosed with eight common types of cancer between 2000 and 2007, were lower in the UK than the European average. Experts have flagged the need for earlier diagnosis and improved access to treatments.

Dr Jem Rashbass, cancer lead at PHE, said it was imperative people got diagnosed earlier, which was why the agency was running the Be Clear on Cancer campaigns to educate the public on the signs and symptoms of the disease.

Rashbass described the cancer registry data as “an invaluable resource in helping us to track improvements in cancer outcomes and gain more understanding of the implications for those living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis”.

The 10 types of cancer in the Macmillan and PHE study were: bladder; female breast; colorectal; kidney, renal pelvis and ureter; lung, trachea and bronchus; melanoma of skin; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; ovary; prostate and uterine cancer.

Thousands with advanced cancer are surviving two years or more, data shows

Thousands of people in England with the most advanced stage of cancer are surviving for several years after diagnosis thanks to improved treatment and care, research shows.

Macmillan Cancer Support and Public Health England’s (PHE) National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service found that at least 17,000 people have survived for two years or more after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, when the disease has already spread to at least one other part of their body.

The figure, which has not previously been available, includes at least 1,600 women diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and 6,400 men diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. It also includes at least 1,200 people diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and at least 2,300 people diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer.

Adrienne Betteley, Macmillan’s specialist adviser for end of life care, said: “Advances in treatment and care mean that a growing number of people have cancer that cannot be cured, but can be managed by treatments that alleviate the symptoms and may also prolong their life.

“This is really positive news, but living with advanced cancer can be a difficult situation to be in. As well as dealing with the physical symptoms of cancer and having multiple hospital appointments, scans and treatment options to contend with, there’s also the emotional and psychological impact of having an uncertain future.”

The research, revealed on Wednesday at the 2017 National Cancer Research Institute Conference in Liverpool, is based on data from England’s national cancer registry.

It captures people who were diagnosed with one of 10 common types of cancer between 2012 and 2013 and were still alive at the end of 2015.

The 17,000 is certain to be an underestimate, as there were a further 43,000 patients alive in 2015 who were diagnosed two to four years previously, but whose stage at diagnosis was not recorded in the registry. Many of those patients are also likely to have had stage 4 of the disease, also known as secondary or metastatic cancer.

Macmillan said the figures highlight the changing nature of the disease and expressed the hope that patients whose options were previously limited could see their cancer become more “treatable” and manageable, like other chronic illnesses.

Carol Fenton, 55, from London, was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2015 and said her life since has been a “rollercoaster” of periods when her symptoms are settled and others when changes in scan results necessitate changes in treatment. She said: “It is hard to plan family activities a long way into the future, so we plan our life around my three-monthly scans. I’m concentrating on what I can do, rather than what I can’t, and I’m hoping that I will stay as well as possible for as long as possible, yet being realistic about preparing for when my condition progresses, not knowing if this will be in a few months, a year, or within five years or more.”

Several studies have suggested that cancer survival rates in the UK lag behind those of other European countries. For instance, survival rates for breast cancer are a decade behind countries including France and Sweden, according to one piece of research. Another found that the average adult five-year survival rates for patients diagnosed with eight common types of cancer between 2000 and 2007, were lower in the UK than the European average. Experts have flagged the need for earlier diagnosis and improved access to treatments.

Dr Jem Rashbass, cancer lead at PHE, said it was imperative people got diagnosed earlier, which was why the agency was running the Be Clear on Cancer campaigns to educate the public on the signs and symptoms of the disease.

Rashbass described the cancer registry data as “an invaluable resource in helping us to track improvements in cancer outcomes and gain more understanding of the implications for those living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis”.

The 10 types of cancer in the Macmillan and PHE study were: bladder; female breast; colorectal; kidney, renal pelvis and ureter; lung, trachea and bronchus; melanoma of skin; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; ovary; prostate and uterine cancer.

Thousands with advanced cancer are surviving two years or more, data shows

Thousands of people in England with the most advanced stage of cancer are surviving for several years after diagnosis thanks to improved treatment and care, research shows.

Macmillan Cancer Support and Public Health England’s (PHE) National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service found that at least 17,000 people have survived for two years or more after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, when the disease has already spread to at least one other part of their body.

The figure, which has not previously been available, includes at least 1,600 women diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and 6,400 men diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. It also includes at least 1,200 people diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and at least 2,300 people diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer.

Adrienne Betteley, Macmillan’s specialist adviser for end of life care, said: “Advances in treatment and care mean that a growing number of people have cancer that cannot be cured, but can be managed by treatments that alleviate the symptoms and may also prolong their life.

“This is really positive news, but living with advanced cancer can be a difficult situation to be in. As well as dealing with the physical symptoms of cancer and having multiple hospital appointments, scans and treatment options to contend with, there’s also the emotional and psychological impact of having an uncertain future.”

The research, revealed on Wednesday at the 2017 National Cancer Research Institute Conference in Liverpool, is based on data from England’s national cancer registry.

It captures people who were diagnosed with one of 10 common types of cancer between 2012 and 2013 and were still alive at the end of 2015.

The 17,000 is certain to be an underestimate, as there were a further 43,000 patients alive in 2015 who were diagnosed two to four years previously, but whose stage at diagnosis was not recorded in the registry. Many of those patients are also likely to have had stage 4 of the disease, also known as secondary or metastatic cancer.

Macmillan said the figures highlight the changing nature of the disease and expressed the hope that patients whose options were previously limited could see their cancer become more “treatable” and manageable, like other chronic illnesses.

Carol Fenton, 55, from London, was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2015 and said her life since has been a “rollercoaster” of periods when her symptoms are settled and others when changes in scan results necessitate changes in treatment. She said: “It is hard to plan family activities a long way into the future, so we plan our life around my three-monthly scans. I’m concentrating on what I can do, rather than what I can’t, and I’m hoping that I will stay as well as possible for as long as possible, yet being realistic about preparing for when my condition progresses, not knowing if this will be in a few months, a year, or within five years or more.”

Several studies have suggested that cancer survival rates in the UK lag behind those of other European countries. For instance, survival rates for breast cancer are a decade behind countries including France and Sweden, according to one piece of research. Another found that the average adult five-year survival rates for patients diagnosed with eight common types of cancer between 2000 and 2007, were lower in the UK than the European average. Experts have flagged the need for earlier diagnosis and improved access to treatments.

Dr Jem Rashbass, cancer lead at PHE, said it was imperative people got diagnosed earlier, which was why the agency was running the Be Clear on Cancer campaigns to educate the public on the signs and symptoms of the disease.

Rashbass described the cancer registry data as “an invaluable resource in helping us to track improvements in cancer outcomes and gain more understanding of the implications for those living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis”.

The 10 types of cancer in the Macmillan and PHE study were: bladder; female breast; colorectal; kidney, renal pelvis and ureter; lung, trachea and bronchus; melanoma of skin; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; ovary; prostate and uterine cancer.

Thousands with advanced cancer are surviving two years or more, data shows

Thousands of people in England with the most advanced stage of cancer are surviving for several years after diagnosis thanks to improved treatment and care, research shows.

Macmillan Cancer Support and Public Health England’s (PHE) National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service found that at least 17,000 people have survived for two years or more after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, when the disease has already spread to at least one other part of their body.

The figure, which has not previously been available, includes at least 1,600 women diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and 6,400 men diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. It also includes at least 1,200 people diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and at least 2,300 people diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer.

Adrienne Betteley, Macmillan’s specialist adviser for end of life care, said: “Advances in treatment and care mean that a growing number of people have cancer that cannot be cured, but can be managed by treatments that alleviate the symptoms and may also prolong their life.

“This is really positive news, but living with advanced cancer can be a difficult situation to be in. As well as dealing with the physical symptoms of cancer and having multiple hospital appointments, scans and treatment options to contend with, there’s also the emotional and psychological impact of having an uncertain future.”

The research, revealed on Wednesday at the 2017 National Cancer Research Institute Conference in Liverpool, is based on data from England’s national cancer registry.

It captures people who were diagnosed with one of 10 common types of cancer between 2012 and 2013 and were still alive at the end of 2015.

The 17,000 is certain to be an underestimate, as there were a further 43,000 patients alive in 2015 who were diagnosed two to four years previously, but whose stage at diagnosis was not recorded in the registry. Many of those patients are also likely to have had stage 4 of the disease, also known as secondary or metastatic cancer.

Macmillan said the figures highlight the changing nature of the disease and expressed the hope that patients whose options were previously limited could see their cancer become more “treatable” and manageable, like other chronic illnesses.

Carol Fenton, 55, from London, was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2015 and said her life since has been a “rollercoaster” of periods when her symptoms are settled and others when changes in scan results necessitate changes in treatment. She said: “It is hard to plan family activities a long way into the future, so we plan our life around my three-monthly scans. I’m concentrating on what I can do, rather than what I can’t, and I’m hoping that I will stay as well as possible for as long as possible, yet being realistic about preparing for when my condition progresses, not knowing if this will be in a few months, a year, or within five years or more.”

Several studies have suggested that cancer survival rates in the UK lag behind those of other European countries. For instance, survival rates for breast cancer are a decade behind countries including France and Sweden, according to one piece of research. Another found that the average adult five-year survival rates for patients diagnosed with eight common types of cancer between 2000 and 2007, were lower in the UK than the European average. Experts have flagged the need for earlier diagnosis and improved access to treatments.

Dr Jem Rashbass, cancer lead at PHE, said it was imperative people got diagnosed earlier, which was why the agency was running the Be Clear on Cancer campaigns to educate the public on the signs and symptoms of the disease.

Rashbass described the cancer registry data as “an invaluable resource in helping us to track improvements in cancer outcomes and gain more understanding of the implications for those living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis”.

The 10 types of cancer in the Macmillan and PHE study were: bladder; female breast; colorectal; kidney, renal pelvis and ureter; lung, trachea and bronchus; melanoma of skin; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; ovary; prostate and uterine cancer.

Thousands with advanced cancer are surviving two years or more, data shows

Thousands of people in England with the most advanced stage of cancer are surviving for several years after diagnosis thanks to improved treatment and care, research shows.

Macmillan Cancer Support and Public Health England’s (PHE) National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service found that at least 17,000 people have survived for two years or more after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, when the disease has already spread to at least one other part of their body.

The figure, which has not previously been available, includes at least 1,600 women diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and 6,400 men diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. It also includes at least 1,200 people diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and at least 2,300 people diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer.

Adrienne Betteley, Macmillan’s specialist adviser for end of life care, said: “Advances in treatment and care mean that a growing number of people have cancer that cannot be cured, but can be managed by treatments that alleviate the symptoms and may also prolong their life.

“This is really positive news, but living with advanced cancer can be a difficult situation to be in. As well as dealing with the physical symptoms of cancer and having multiple hospital appointments, scans and treatment options to contend with, there’s also the emotional and psychological impact of having an uncertain future.”

The research, revealed on Wednesday at the 2017 National Cancer Research Institute Conference in Liverpool, is based on data from England’s national cancer registry.

It captures people who were diagnosed with one of 10 common types of cancer between 2012 and 2013 and were still alive at the end of 2015.

The 17,000 is certain to be an underestimate, as there were a further 43,000 patients alive in 2015 who were diagnosed two to four years previously, but whose stage at diagnosis was not recorded in the registry. Many of those patients are also likely to have had stage 4 of the disease, also known as secondary or metastatic cancer.

Macmillan said the figures highlight the changing nature of the disease and expressed the hope that patients whose options were previously limited could see their cancer become more “treatable” and manageable, like other chronic illnesses.

Carol Fenton, 55, from London, was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2015 and said her life since has been a “rollercoaster” of periods when her symptoms are settled and others when changes in scan results necessitate changes in treatment. She said: “It is hard to plan family activities a long way into the future, so we plan our life around my three-monthly scans. I’m concentrating on what I can do, rather than what I can’t, and I’m hoping that I will stay as well as possible for as long as possible, yet being realistic about preparing for when my condition progresses, not knowing if this will be in a few months, a year, or within five years or more.”

Several studies have suggested that cancer survival rates in the UK lag behind those of other European countries. For instance, survival rates for breast cancer are a decade behind countries including France and Sweden, according to one piece of research. Another found that the average adult five-year survival rates for patients diagnosed with eight common types of cancer between 2000 and 2007, were lower in the UK than the European average. Experts have flagged the need for earlier diagnosis and improved access to treatments.

Dr Jem Rashbass, cancer lead at PHE, said it was imperative people got diagnosed earlier, which was why the agency was running the Be Clear on Cancer campaigns to educate the public on the signs and symptoms of the disease.

Rashbass described the cancer registry data as “an invaluable resource in helping us to track improvements in cancer outcomes and gain more understanding of the implications for those living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis”.

The 10 types of cancer in the Macmillan and PHE study were: bladder; female breast; colorectal; kidney, renal pelvis and ureter; lung, trachea and bronchus; melanoma of skin; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; ovary; prostate and uterine cancer.