Cancer diagnoses will jump by a third by 2040, taking the number of new cases every year to more than half a million for the first time, a charity has warned.
Cancer Research UK estimates UK cancer cases will rise from the 384,000 cases per year now to 506,000 in 2040, if current trends continue.
While survival rates have improved, the UK continues to lag behind much of Europe with deaths set to rise by almost quarter from 167,000 to 208,000, over the same period.
It warned the ‘NHS risks being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of new cancer diagnoses’ unless more is done to tackle preventable causes like obesity and train more staff.
While most of the rise is due to an ageing population, the charity also said issues such as obesity and smoking are contributing to the rise.
In total, there could be 8.4million new cases of cancer and 3.5million cancer deaths in the UK between 2023 and 2040.
Around six in ten cases and three-quarters (76 per cent) of deaths will be in over 70s, it estimates.
Professor Charles Swanton, chief clinician for Cancer Research UK, said: ‘By the end of the next decade, if left unaided, the NHS risks being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of new cancer diagnoses.
‘It takes 15 years to train an oncologist, pathologist, radiologist or surgeon.
‘The Government must start planning now to give patients the support they will so desperately need.’
Around four in 10 cancer cases are preventable, with the two biggest preventable causes being smoking and obesity.
The charity predicts smoking could cause around one million cancer cases in the UK between now and 2040, while more people are expected to be obese than a healthy weight.
Read More: Fears the NHS ‘risks being overwhelmed’ with new cases rising by a third to 500,000 Brits every year by 2040, charity warns