The UK cancer rate has risen by 12% in 20 years, to 352,000 new cases every year, according to leading cancer charity, Cancer Research UK.

In 2011-2013, there were 603 cases of cancer diagnosed for every 100,000 people, compared with 540 in 1993-1995.

While cancer cases are up, Cancer Research UK also reported that the UK survival rate has doubled over the last 40 years due to more advanced treatments, improved diagnosis and screening programmes.

Experts say that the rise in the number of people being diagnosed with cancer is the consequence of an ageing and growing population, which has consequently led to increased pressure on NHS services.

Health think tank, the King’s Fund warned this month that NHS trusts are on track to hit a £2.3bn deficit and highlighted concerns over the quality of patient care due to NHS budget constraints. According to the report, 53% of finance directors who responded thought the quality of NHS services had worsened in the last year.

Madeleine Pinschof, a senior medical negligence solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors Bristol office, said: “While cancer rates are rising, we welcome news that survival rates have doubled over the last 40 years.

“We know that a prompt diagnosis can prove vital in a patient's prognosis, and so ensuring that NHS staff are properly supported to deliver vital cancer services is crucial in maintaining and improving cancer survival rates.

“It’s evident from the King’s Fund findings that NHS staff and services are being stretched to breaking point and it is time the government acknowledged and addressed this if cancer services are to be able to provide the level of service the report identifies as lacking.”