To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to address increasing rates of cancer in people of middle age.
A total of 280,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year, a number which has been growing by around 2% annually. This rise is attributed to an ageing and growing population as well as changing lifestyle factors. In 2015-16 there were over 822,000 more general practitioner (GP) referrals seen by a specialist for suspected cancer, an increase of 91% compared to 2009-10.
Spearheading a radical upgrade in prevention and public health is a priority for this Government, and was clearly highlighted in the report Achieving World-Class Cancer Outcomes (2015) by the Independent Cancer Taskforce. The Government has accepted all 96 of the report’s recommendations to improve survival rates for all age groups and save more lives.
An implementation plan, Achieving World-Class Cancer Outcomes: Taking the strategy forward, was published on 12 May 2016 and aims to significantly reduce the 40% of cancers caused by behavioural, lifestyle and environmental factors. As part of this the Government published the national childhood obesity strategy in August 2016, and is currently developing a Tobacco Control Plan and an alcohol evidence review to prevent more cancers.