Bladder cancer survival rates drop after shortage of crucial drug

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Bladder cancer survival rates have fallen due to a world-wide shortage of a crucial drug, figures suggest.

New Office for National Statistics data shows the chances of living five years beyond diagnosis dropped 2.5 per cent between 2016 and 2017 to 52.6 per cent.

It follows a period of limited supplies of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin, an immunotherapy that keeps the cancer at bay and prevents it from coming back.

Manufactured by Merck & Co, the medicine has been the go-to treatment for many patients with early-stage bladder cancer for decades.

But an increase in demand across the world has made supplies harder to secure, despite the firm promising to double their production.

The one-year survival rate also dropped, by 0.7 per cent to 74.1 per cent.

It comes amid a wider stagnation in improvement across many cancer types.

Dr Fran Woodard, from Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “Today’s figures reveal that one and five-year survival rates for many cancers, including three of the most common, breast, colon and prostate cancer, are at a standstill.

“In addition, the five-year survival rate for bladder cancer appears to be getting worse.”



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