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18 December 2013, 07:17 | Updated: 18 December 2013, 07:40
New figures released today show that the death rate from cancer in East Anglia has dropped by nearly a quarter since the 90s.
These figures, from Cancer Research UK, have sparked a launch of an awareness and fundraising campaign across East Anglia by the charity.
Every year, around 30,300 people are diagnosed with cancer in the East of England.
Research is the key factor in reducing the number of lives lost to cancer, with developments such as improved knowledge about preventing the disease and more effective drugs boosting the outcome for patients.
Death rates show that the proportion of people in the UK who are dying of cancer has fallen dramatically, even though more people are being diagnosed with the disease. The rising number of diagnoses is largely due to the UK’s ageing population and cancer being more common in older people.
In 1990, 220 in every 100,000 people in the UK died of cancer. Thanks to research improving the outcome for patients, this fell overall by 22% to 170 per 100,000 in 2011.
The news comes as Cancer Research UK prepares to launch its new campaign with a TV advert on Boxing Day.
It includes two narratives. The first is the life of baby girl born in 2014, from her conception, to her birth, her early years, her adolescence, right up to her diagnosis with cancer in her 40s. The second is all the research into cancer that will be carried out between now and that moment.
The message is clear that by supporting Cancer Research UK, more research can be funded which will mean that one day in the future everyone will beat cancer.
The importance of research into the causes of cancer is demonstrated by the big falls in the number of people diagnosed with lung cancer as a result of fewer men smoking.
The link between tobacco and lung cancer was confirmed through ground breaking research in the 1950s. Death rates for the disease in the UK have dropped by 41% in the last 20 years.
But more research is still needed to develop more effective lung cancer treatments. This will give people who are diagnosed with the disease a much better chance of being cured as survival remains among the lowest of any cancer.
Paula Young, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the East of England, said: “Today cancer can be beaten and as these new figures show, mortality rates from this much feared disease are dropping significantly as the fruits of research are producing more effective treatments with fewer side effects.
"But while we’re heading in the right direction, too many lives are still being lost to the disease, highlighting how much more work there is to do. Our aim is that one day everyone will beat cancer and the more research we can fund, the sooner that day will come.
"That’s why we’re calling on people across the region to back our new campaign and help us bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. It’s not just technology or knowledge that we need to win our fight against cancer – it’s funding.”
Thanks to the generosity of people in East Anglia, Cancer Research UK was able to spend over £44 million in the region last year on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.