Ready for the cancer fight

AGENCIES that care for cancer patients say they are well placed to help more people predicted to be diagnosed with the disease.

Research by the charity Macmillan Cancer Support reveals almost one in every two people will get cancer within the next seven years.

The prediction means 47 per cent of people will be diagnosed with the disease by 2020.

But the charity also says around four out of 10 sufferers, 38 per cent, will not die from the disease because of better screening and treatment.

Both Hartlepool & District Hospice and the local hospital trust say they are well prepared to deal with the expected increase.

Tracy Woodall, chief executive at the Wells Avenue-based hospice, said: “The news around the increased incidents of patients developing cancer comes as no surprise.

“We are one of the best places to care for patients who are approaching the end of their life and dying as a result of cancer. However cancer appears in many forms. It can progress quickly or slowly and requires the input of many health professionals during the patients journey.

“It is vital that these health professionals work together in a co-ordinated interconnected manner to ensure patients receive a consistent approach to their care.

“Health services will be facing massive demands in the future as the population ages and more long-term conditions affect patients.

“The hospice will be a key provider whether they have a cancer diagnosis or not and we are fully prepared to meet the needs of our community.”

Matt Tabaqchali, lead clinician for cancer at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, added: “We are seeing more older people with cancer but with our knowledge, more targeted drug treatments and technology improving all the time, we are able to treat people with a greater chance of success.

“For example, the five year survival rate after breast cancer has gone from 50 per cent five years to 85 per cent now.

“Screening has been expanded in both breast and bowel screening this is helping our success because screening can pick up problems before they develop.

“The earlier we can treat the disease the better the outcome so we would urge people to ensure they take up any offers of screening because it could save their life.”