New research has indicated that the number of middle-aged people suffering from cancer has climbed by more than one-third in a generation, although survival rates have also increased markedly.
According to a study published by Cancer Research UK this week, 61,000 men and women aged between 40 and 59 developed various forms of the disease in 2008 - up from a total of 44,000 in 1979.
Prostate cancer rates soared by six times during the same period, with breast cancer up by 50 per cent. However, the survey also revealed that the number of people beating the condition has doubled over the last 30 years.
"We must redouble our efforts to ensure that our research continues to discover new techniques to improve and refine diagnosis and treatment," said Harpal Kumar, the charity's chief executive.
Last week, Association for International Cancer Research scientific co-ordinator Dr Mark Matfield suggested public awareness of the role of some lifestyle factors in causing cancer remains poor.