New cancer cases 'up 30% by 2030'

New cases of cancer could rise 30% in the UK by 2030, experts have warned.

The UK ranks 16th out of 27 countries in the European Union for the predicted rise in cases, according to the data from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) issued to publicise World Cancer Day on Saturday.

Estimates suggest in 2030 there will be 396,000 new cases of cancer in the UK compared with 304,000 new cases in 2008 - a 30% rise.

This data differs to figures released by Cancer Research UK in October, which predicted the number of new cancer cases in the UK could rise by 45% between 2007 and 2030 to 432,000 a year.

The new league table of 27 EU member states is based on World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates for new cancer cases in 2030 and leaves Ireland with the biggest predicted rise, at 72%. Cyprus comes second (55%), followed by Luxembourg (53%) and Malta (49%).

The rises could be down to a number of factors, in particular an ageing population. Higher income countries also tend to have higher levels of obesity and alcohol consumption and lower levels of exercise, which increase the risk of developing cancer.

WCRF spokeswoman Dr Rachel Thompson said: "Scientists estimate that about a third of the most common cancers in the UK and other high income countries could be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, being more physically active and eating more healthily.

"Unfortunately, these figures are just as bad, if not worse, in non-European countries and the predicted increase in global cancer cases between 2008 and 2030 is 67% - from 12.6 million to 21.2 million. This is due to an increase in the adult population as well as an ageing population."

A Department of Health spokesman said: "This data shows the challenges we face from an ageing population and the rising burden of cancer.

"That is why we are investing more than £750 million over the next four years to make sure people are diagnosed with cancer earlier and have better access to the latest treatments. This includes a range of public awareness campaigns on the signs and symptoms of cancer."