A CANCER survivor has welcomed the news that death rates for some of the UK’s most common cancers have fallen.
Death rates for breast, bowel, lung and prostate cancer combined have fallen by almost a third in the last 20 years in the UK according to the latest Cancer Research UK fig-ures.
The latest figures, which highlight the impact research has had in beating cancer, come as Cancer Research UK launches its ‘We Will Beat Cancer Sooner’ campaign.
Claire Phillips, from Tonge Fold, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 after being invited for a routine mammogram as part of a pilot project in the region to screen women aged from 47 to 50.
Ms Phillips, who lives with her partner George, had never experienced any lumps or breast pain, but following the screening she was called back.
She underwent an ultrasound and a biopsy followed by an agonising five-day wait for the results.
When she returned, Ms Phillips was given the devastating news that she had breast cancer. Follow-ing a lumpectomy, she faced six months of chemo-therapy treatment, which meant losing her hair, followed by further surg-ery.
She also underwent radio-therapy treatment and rec-eives the drug tamoxifen.
Ms Phillips, who prev-iously worked as a fundraiser for Bolton Girls and Lads Club, has made a good recovery and recently volunteered at the Com-monwealth Games in Gla-sgow.
Although still feeling tired, she is now working part-time in an admin role.
She said: “It’s great to be getting my life back on track and although I do still feel quite tired, it’s good to be working again. I was thrilled when my hair grew back but I’m now going to keep it short.
“I feel lucky to be alive and to be able to get on with my life. Thanks to research I'm incredibly optimistic that in another 10 years things will have got even better.”
Death rates in the UK for breast cancer have fallen by 38 per cent, bowel cancer by 34 per cent, lung cancer by 27 per cent and prostate cancer by 21 per cent. In the North West, mortality rates have dropped by more than a fifth in the past 20 years.
Breast cancer scientists have been responsible for improving detection of the disease through screening, developing more specialist care and more effective treatments, such as imp-roved surgery, radiothe-rapy and drugs like tamoxifen and anastrozole and letrozole.
Research has also meant fewer bowel cancer patients are losing their lives to the disease thanks to improved early detection while there are now more than 3,000 fewer lung cancer deaths in the UK than 20 years ago.
Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK’s spokesman for the North West, said: “It’s vital to remember that we need to do more to help bring even better results.
"That’s why we’re calling on people across the North West to back our new campaign."