The number of men developing cancer is on the rise, with new figures from Cancer Research UK forecasting that one in two will have the disease by 2027.

This, the charity says, means that within the next 15 years the rate of cancer in men will climb to 50 out of 100 from 44 out of 100 in 2010.

And the picture is similar for women, the lifetime risk for which will increase from 40 to 44 out of 100, it said. 

On the plus side, cancer survival has doubled over the last 40 years with the introduction of screening and better therapies, so while there a greater chance of being diagnosed with the disease the chances of surviving it are also higher, experts stress.

The key driver for this growth in diagnoses is age, which is the biggest risk factor for developing the disease, and the biggest increase in cases are expected in cancers of the bowel and prostate, as well as melanoma.

Research hope

According to Harpal Kumar, CR UK’s chief executive, "its only through research that we will be able to beat cancer". 

"We need to do more work to understand what drives cancer and how we can prevent it, as well as developing new treatments to reduce the number of people who will die from it".

For example, around 57,000 men in the UK are predicted to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2027, compared to less than 41,000 in 2010.

A key barrier to better prostate cancer outcomes is the inability to distinguish which cases will be life-threatening. The current screening method - which looks for prostate specific antigen in the blood - cannot accurately determine whether prostate cancer is present or whether it is aggressive in nature.

Scientists are currently looking at another marker - called MSMB - that may be more accurately linked with the disease, but further work is needed to determine whether a test based on this protein is viable, said Professor Malcolm Mason, the charity's prostate cancer expert.