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NHS will struggle to cope with cancer

The NHS may struggle to cope with the number of cancer sufferers after figures reach an all-time high of 2.5 million claims a leading charity.

Macmillan Cancer Research issued warning yesterday that the 400,000 increase in cancer sufferers since 2010 puts extra pressure on the NHS, which will have difficulty coping unless urgent action is taken by all political parties.

The rise in the number of survivors, as well as those undergoing treatment for the disease can be attributed to a number of factors including an ageing population and improvements in the treatment and detection of the illness.

The latest Office for National Statistics figuresshowed that 80% of people with breast, prostate or skin cancer were living for five years after diagnosis. The proportion was 90% for testicular cancer, continuing a trend of increasing survival.

The charity's chief executive Lynda Thomas raised concern describing these statistics as a “double edge sword”.

She said: “As numbers surge, the NHS will soon be unable to cope with the huge increase in demand for health services and the support that organisations like Macmillan provide will become even more urgent and important.”

The warning comes as data collected by the charity shows that 25% of people in the UK already face poor health or disability after treatment for cancer. This means they may still be reliant on health services after they have been given the all-clear and as more people are diagnosed the charity warns this will only get worse.