Cancer related deaths could be ‘effectively eliminated' except in late old age by 2050 if the current trends in treatment and prevention continue, a report from UCL has found.
The incident rates for cancer have increased since 1990, however over the same period mortality has fallen by around 1% annually.
Death rates from the most common forms of cancer have decreased by a third in 20 years.
The report, Overcoming Cancer in the 21st Century, from UCL's school of pharmacy also noted that while new cancer drugs are more expensive, they are necessary for fewer patients than older ones as those become cheaper.
Advances highlighted as needed to continue the decline include stopping smoking, detecting and treating conditions such as bowel cancer at earlier stages which would help improve mortality rates.
David Taylor, one of the report's authors and emeritus professor of pharmaceutical and public health policy at UCL, said today: "Dying from cancer may be no worse than dying from other diseases, even though there is evidence of cancer being more feared than many other conditions.
"What makes this a special point in history is that cancers are in the process of becoming either preventable or effectively curable."
Richard Sullivan, another of the report's authors and professor of cancer policy and global health at King's College London, commented: "it is worrying that we have still not been able to cut death rates significantly amongst people who develop metastatic disease.
"Britain is leading in areas like nurse-led care for women with advanced breast cancer. Yet there is still much more we need to be able to do. Progress against conditions like pancreatic and lung cancers, which are not normally diagnosed until a late stage, has so far been disappointing."
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