Are there any “good” cancer statistics?

champagne-webYes!  What’s more, things are improving.  Here are some encouraging statistics from Cancer Research UK (also worth reading is their guide to statistics)

1 Three-quarters of people with breast cancer survive for 10 years or more after they’ve been diagnosed.

2 7/10 children with cancer are now successfully treated

3 97% of children with Hodgkins lymphoma now survive

4 98% of men with testicular cancer are successfully treated.

5 Over 70% of women with cancer of the uterus (the womb) survive 5 years or longer.

6 The average ten-year cancer survival rate has doubled over the last 30 years.

Cancer Research UK also have a new advertising campaign highlighting two success stories. What about the figures for Scotland?  Are there any success stories?  Yes!  These figures are taken from the IDS website, a Summary of Cancer in Scotland (written in September 2014, the figures given are from 2004.)

In Scotland, more than half (often more) of people diagnosed with these cancers will live for five years or more:

Type of Cancer % of people in Scotland who survive 5 years or more after diagnosis
Malignant Melanoma (Skin)
Women 93%
Men 87%
Hodgkin’s Disease
Women 92%
Men 89%
Breast Cancer 84%
Uterus 83%
Colon and Rectum (Bowel) 55%
Leukaemia 50%

Remember, these are statistics and can’t tell you what will happen to you (or your loved ones).  A point well made by Andrew Lawson, a doctor diagnosed with a type of lung cancer called mesothelioma.  Writing for the Sunday Times he says

“Statistics are for populations, not individuals, in the sense that while they are a guide as to what might happen to us in general, they cannot predict what will happen to you or me as an individual”

In the same article he also recommends the article “The Median is not the Message” by Stephen J Gould, which you can read more about here.

PS – Drawing tables in WordPress is difficult, I’ve drawn the above table in Science Live Writer and copied the HTML into WordPress, if anyone knows of an easier way of doing this I’d love to know how!  Thanks.


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