The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently published the Cancer Registration Statistics in England for 2013 which reveal that the incidence of cancer continues to increase with just under 300,000 cases of cancer diagnosis reported in 2013. 

Other key statistics of the study include: 

  • While there is still a higher incidence in males (approximately 140 more per 100,000 than in females), the incidence rate is rising faster in females
  • Leukaemia is the most common cancer in children
  • Male testicular cancer and female breast cancer are the most common cancers in people under 50
  • Breast cancer is also the most the common cancer in women over 50 but prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men over 50
  • The cancer incidence rate is higher in the North West
  • Breast, prostate, lung and colo rectal cancers remain the four most common cancers. This is consistent with both UK and worldwide patterns
  • Age is a factor in incidence – almost 50% of cancer incidence recorded was in those age 70 or above. 

Commenting on the ONS statistics, Philippa Luscombe, partner in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches, said: “This report makes interesting reading and it is reassuring to see this data being gathered as it is hopefully helpful for ongoing cancer research. The missing message in this report - which is statistics only - is that awareness and early diagnosis are vital in many types of cancer and that we need to work on these as the incidence of cancer continues to grow. 

“Despite the efforts of various charities to draw the attention of the public to the symptoms of many types of cancer, we are still seeing inappropriate reassurance of patients (particularly young patients) without investigation and investigations that are inconclusive and not followed up or not properly interpreted. We see far too many clinical negligence cases involving delayed diagnosis of cancer. This ONS data needs to be used not just to help with research but also in targeting resources to training and investigation to give those diagnosed with cancer the best chance of successful treatment.”