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Cancer survival rates falling behind other countries

Cancer survival rates falling behind other countries

Cancer survival rates in the UK are increasing. But analysis suggests we are falling behind other countries.

A study in Lancet Oncology finds that UK performance is behind Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand and Norway.

The study

The study focused on cancer patients diagnosed between 1995 and 2014 with:

The results

Cancer survival rates increased in all seven countries over the study period.

Australia was found to have the best survival rates overall.

The UK overall had lower survival rates.

Progress in the UK

Over the 20-year study, it found in the UK:

  1. Rectal cancer survival rates increase from 48% to 62%
  2. Surviving colon cancer for five years increased from 47% between 1995 and 1999 to 59% in 2010 to 2014
  3. The lowest five-year survival rate at 7.9% out of all seven countries
  4. Lung cancer five-year survival rate also lowest of all seven countries

Progress in certain areas is contributed to advances in technology, better patient management and more effective cancer treatment.

John Butler is a clinical adviser to Cancer Research UK and a consultant surgeon at the Royal Marsden. He says that investing in early diagnosis and cancer care will help to bridge the cancer survival gap on other countries.

One-year cancer survival rates at record high

The UK government says that other data shows that the UK has record high one year survival rates.

A Department for Health and Social Care says that, “…our NHS Long Term Plan will detect more cancers at an earlier stage, saving an estimated 55,000 lives a year.”

Melanie Lidstone-Land, medical negligence lawyer at Swain & Co Solicitors comments,

“It is great to see progress in cancer survival rates in the UK, and recognition that we need to do more to catch up to other countries. What is disappointing to read though is that NHS data shows people are not being seen quickly enough. One in four patients wait longer than the 62 days from urgent referral from their GP to being seen at hospital.

If diagnosis and treatment doesn’t happen urgently, then there is a possibility that treatments may be more invasive and prognosis not as positive.”

Melanie helps those diagnosed with cancer, and their loved ones, get answers and compensation when they experience substandard medical care. This can be delays in diagnosis, misdiagnosis and/or delays in treatment.

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