Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer expert Malcolm Mason says research is needed to improve survival rates (Cancer Research UK)

Half of men will be at risk of developing cancer within 15 years, with prostate, bowel and melanoma cancers set to increase at the fastest levels.

Cancer Research UK figures show that 50 out of every 100 men are likely to be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives by 2027. In 2010, this figure was 44 in every 100.

One of the main reasons for this increase is age. As more people live longer, the more likely they are to develop cancer.

Over 221,000 men are expected to be diagnosed in cancer in 2027, compared to 164,000 in 2010.

Although cancer survival rates have doubled over the last 40 years, Malcolm Mason, Cancer Research UK's prostate cancer expert, said more needs to be done.

"Glimpse into the future"

The number of prostate cancer is increasing and it is still not possible to determine which cases are life threatening and which are not.

"Prostate cancer needs research. We have many questions and research is key to providing answers about the disease," he said.

"As our population ages, growing numbers of men will be diagnosed with the disease. Over the last 40 years prostate cancer incidence rates in Great Britain have tripled, and three-quarters of cases are diagnosed in men aged over 65 years."

Dr Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: "These figures provide a glimpse into the future. On the plus side our life expectancy is increasing but this also means more of us are likely to be diagnosed with cancer.

"It's 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.

"Understanding the biology of cancer is rather like completing a complex jigsaw puzzle. Many pieces have already fallen into place but we need more research before we can complete the picture."