A majority of people diagnosed with the most common cancers in the UK can now expect to live for at least 10 years, according to the latest government estimates.

Skin cancer sufferers are the most likely to live for more than a decade after their diagnosis, with the Office for National Statistics claiming 89.4% of patients can expect to live this long.

More than 80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer can also expect to live for 10 years or more, given the gradual upward trend in survival rates.

Prognosis is almost as good for prostate cancer sufferers, the most common cancer in men.

Almost 80% can now expect to live for more than 10 years after diagnosis.

However, only 5.7% of pancreatic cancer patients will live that long, with 9.8% of lung cancer patients and 11.9% of those with brain cancer reaching the 10-year milestone.

The figures are the first to be released by the ONS that project how many people diagnosed with certain forms of cancer in 2015 are expected to survive for a decade.

They estimate future survival rates rather than studying the number of years cancer patients have already lived.

The figures lend weight to the argument that new drugs, superior treatment and earlier diagnosis are helping to improve chances of survival in certain types of cancer.

Cancer survival 'improving'

Of 96.4% of women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, 13% lived for at least a year, while 86.7% survived for five years – the highest numbers on record.

cancer research
According to the ONS, cancer sufferers of the most common types of the disease can expect to live for ten years or more Istock

For men, survival rates at one year and five years are highest for those with testicular cancer.

Rebecca Smittenaar, Cancer Research UK's statistics manager said: "Cancer survival is improving and has doubled over the last 40 years.

"For a number of cancers, including breast and skin cancer, more than eight out of 10 people will survive their disease.

"Research has led to better treatments, new drugs, more accurate tests, earlier diagnosis and screening programmes, giving patients a better chance of survival."

But Cancer Research UK is concerned that survival remains stubbornly low for some cancers, including lung, pancreatic and oesophageal forms of the disease and brain tumours.

'Surviving' vs 'living'

Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "Surviving is not necessarily the same as living well, and too many people with cancer miss out on the support they badly need once treatment has finished.

"While today's figures are to be celebrated, they should also act as a warning that as the number of long-term survivors increases, we will need a health service that is able to cope with this increasingly complex situation."

David Crosby, director of services and engagement at Breast Cancer Care, said: "These extra years of life mean more precious time with loved ones, as well as the ability to continue to work and contribute to society.

"However, readjusting to life after the roller-coaster of breast cancer treatment can be the most traumatic time, for some even harder than the diagnosis itself.

"They may be struggling with body image or learning to cope with long-term effects of treatment, such as fatigue or painful joints, and living every day with the fear of the cancer returning or spreading."