Cancer Research UK warns that the National Health Service must start planning now to deal with a predicted leap of 45 percent in the number of new cancer cases in the UK over the next two decades.

The number of cancer cases is projected to climb from around 298,000 in 2007 to around 432,000 by 2030 - an increase that, without planning, could threaten to overwhelm NHS resources.

"Projections of cancer cases are important for planning health services so we can understand where the future burden is on the NHS and also where health awareness messages need to be raised," study author Professor Peter Sasieni said in a statement.

According to the Cancer Research UK study, male cancer cases will see the biggest rise - by 55 percent to over 230,000 in 2030, while cancer cases among women are also forecast to increase by 35 percent from around 149,000 in 2007 to over 200,000 in 2030.

But the good news is that survival is on the increase - cancer survival rates have doubled over the last 40 years in the UK - a trend that is likely to continue.

Prostate cancer is predicted to be one of the biggest risers over the 23-year period with over 25,000 more cases of the disease in 2030 compared to 2007. Cases will increase from around 36,000 in 2007 to over 61,000. This is mainly due to the ageing and growing population.

While cancer cases are set to rise, cancer rates, adjusting for the growing and ageing population, remain broadly stable over the 23-year period at around 400 per 100,000 men per year and 350 per 100,000 women per year.

Despite this, some individual cancers will see an increase in rates.

Over the next 20 years, some of the largest increases in cancer rates will be from oral, liver, skin and kidney cancers - especially among men.

The rate of malignant melanoma - the most dangerous form of skin cancer - has the biggest projected increase, rising by a staggering 52 percent for both men and women.

The rate of oral cancer in men is predicted to rise by 25 percent from 10.9 per 100,000 men per year in 2007 to 13.6 per 100,000 in 2030. (Cases will rise by 75 percent from around 3,600 to 6,300).

Male kidney cancer rates are estimated to rise by 28 percent (cases will rise by 90 percent from 5,145 to almost 10,000) while liver cancer rates in men are set to increase by 27 percent by 2030 (cases will rise by 94 percent from around 2,150 to almost 4,200).

In women, liver cancer rates are predicted to fall by two percent, while kidney cancer rates will rise by 18 percent over the next 23 years.

The study also predicted that the rate of breast cancer will decline by seven percent from 120 cases per 100,000 women per year in 2007 to 111 cases per 100,000 in 2030.

The researchers said that most of the decline in the age group between 55-64 is due to a significant reduction in the use of HRT in recent years. HRT is an important risk factor for breast cancer first identified in the 1980s.

"We have witnessed huge improvements in recent decades, with cancer survival doubling over the last 40 years. Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress through investment in research into more effective radiotherapy, many new drugs and improved surgery," Cancer Research UK's chief clinician Professor Peter Johnson said in a statement.

He asserted, "It's also important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer, so we can spot it early. Generally, the earlier cancer is spotted the easier it is to treat successfully, so know what is normal for you and if you spot anything unusual, get it checked out by your doctor."

"The NHS faces a perfect storm over the next 20 years. The main reason for the rising number of cases is simply that people are living longer - and the greatest risk factor for cancer is age. At a time when the finances of the health service are being squeezed, it is absolutely crucial that health commissioners plan now for a massive increase in demand for cancer services, to ensure we provide high quality care to all," Cancer Research UK's chief executive Harpal Kumar said in a statement.

"And as we develop ever more sophisticated ways to detect and treat cancer successfully, health planners must deploy resources more effectively to enable all patients to benefit from the latest developments and cutting edge new treatments," he concluded.