MORE Wiganers diagnosed with cancer now are expected to live for at least another decade.
Survival rates in the borough have dramatically improved with 67.2 per cent of patients beating the illness, and half of new patients expected to survive for another 10 years or more.
In the North West this means that around 19,000 sufferers each year will live longer. But despite the rise, the country is said to still lag behind others in other Western Europe.
Dr Paul Turner, Consultant in Public Health at Wigan Council, said: “The good news is that the mortality rate for cancer locally is falling, but people can still do more to reduce both their risk of developing cancer and risk of dying from cancer.
“Smoking is the single biggest cause of “preventable” death in Wigan. Stopping smoking, eating healthily and exercising can help to prevent cancer.
“I’d also encourage residents to take part in the breast, cervical and bowel cancer screening programmes – these tests identify cancer early - making treatment more effective.
“Spot the symptoms – if you have a cough that lasts more than three weeks, have a lump in the breast, have noticed that you have blood in poo or pee, or have other persistent symptoms that cannot be explained then please see your doctor.”
In the early 1970s 50 per cent of patients survived just one year and just a quarter of people diagnosed with cancer in the UK survived 10 years. By 2005-06, 50 per cent were living for five years and 46 per cent for 10.
Prof Michel Coleman, head of Cancer Research UK’s Cancer Survival Group at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, whose team produced the survival figures, said: “Results show just how far we’ve come in improving cancer survival, but they also shine a spotlight on areas where much more needs to be done.”
Statistics show that people with some cancers have better chance of survival than others. Women with breast cancer now have a 78 per cent chance of surviving at least a decade, compared to only 40 per cent 40 years ago.
This compares to just one per cent of pancreatic cancer patients and five per cent of lung cancer patients diagnosed today.