According to a Cancer Research UK estimate released on Friday, the number of cancer cases in the UK is expected to exceed 500,000 by 2040.
“If current trends continue, the figure will climb from 384,000 now to 506,000 in 2040,” according to the report. In comparison to current levels, this means that around one-third more people will be diagnosed with cancer each year.
According to the organisation, the key cause for the estimate is the expanding and ageing population.
New cancer patients in the UK are expected to get older during the next two decades.
“Currently, around 5 in 10 new cancer cases are in persons over the age of 70, and this ratio could rise to 6 in 10 by 2040,” it stated.
“Today’s study serves as a sobering reminder of the problems that the NHS (National Health Service) in England is going to face in the coming years,” Cancer Research UK CEO Michelle Mitchell said of the projection.
“Cancer patients are already enduring unacceptable wait times for diagnosis and treatment, and cancer services workers are working extremely hard,” she added.
The organisation said that if the government does not take meaningful steps to address the situation, the “NHS risks being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of new cancer diagnoses.”