Cancer survival rates in Wales continue to improve

More people are being diagnosed with cancer in Wales, but more people than ever are being treated and survival rates are at an all-time high, a new report about cancer care today shows.

The fourth all-Wales annual report for cancer sets out the progress made against the Welsh Government’s Together for Health – Cancer Delivery Plan over the last 12 months and identifies areas for future improvement.

It shows the number of people diagnosed with cancer is increasing. In 2013-14, 19,000 people were diagnosed with cancer, an increase of 11.5% compared to 10 years ago.

The report also shows that despite this increase, in 2014-15, 28% more people were seen, diagnosed and began treatment within the 62-day cancer waiting time target than five years ago.

Other key achievements include:

  • Cancer survival is improving in Wales. More than 70% of people diagnosed with cancer survive for at least one year and more than 50% survive for at least five years;
  • The mortality rate for people diagnosed with cancer under 75 has reduced by 14% over the last 10 years;
  • More than 83% of Welsh girls aged 15 and over have received all three doses of the human papillomavirus vaccine;
  • More than 700,000 people were invited to have breast, bowel or cervical cancer screening;
  • Three years ago less than 42% of all cancers had their stage recorded. This year almost 75% of all cancers have their stage;
  • There has been a 3.8% increase in participation in clinical trials to 18.2% -ahead of the 15% target.

Over the next 12 months the Welsh Government and NHS will;

  • Cut down the number of people diagnosed via emergency routes, moving the focus to hard-to-diagnose cancers;
  • Continue to improve performance against waiting time targets;
  • Address the wider lifestyle risks for cancer – continue to cut smoking rates and target risky drinking behaviours;
  • Increase opportunities to improve the number of people who are involved in cancer research.

Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething said:

“The Welsh NHS has again made tremendous progress in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. But there is no room for complacency when in Wales, in 2016 alone, almost 20,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer and around 8,000 will die. I look forward to seeing further progress being made in the fight against cancer.”

NHS Wales chief executive Dr Andrew Goodall said:

“There are numerous excellent examples of cancer services improving throughout Wales. We already know the overwhelming majority of people have a positive experience of cancer care here but our priority must be to achieve even better outcomes.”