More could be done to improve the procedures for cancer testing and diagnosing in the UK, ITV Exposure has found.
NHS programmes that regularly screen women for breast and cervical cancer are proving effective, but three other cancers – bowel, prostate and lung cancer – kill almost 60,000 people in Britain every year.
This amounts to almost 40 per cent of all cancer deaths in the UK- the equivalent of one every nine minutes.
The programme features the story of Gail and Fred Allen who both have terminal cancer.
Gail has bowel cancer and Fred has prostate cancer.
According to Gail Allen it took nine visits to the GP to diagnose her with bowel cancer,
Mrs Allen is determined to ensure their children shouldn't treat them as a special case and should live their lives.
Her husband, Fred, claims he was talked out of a PSA test for prostate cancer by his doctor.
Both believe they were diagnosed at a late stage of the disease.
Gordon McVie, who was chief executive of Cancer Research UK and has been a practicing oncologist for 40 years, says the UK has not been putting the resources that we need to and should have been putting in for the last 20 years into early detection and screening.
Mr McVie has called for the UK to introduce a prostrate screening programme in the UK:
London's East End has extremely high prostate cancer death rates.
The first independently evaluated drop-in clinic in England was set up two years ago, offering free PSA tests, although it took two years to find the money.
Consultant urological surgeon Frank Chinegwundoh said:
It was recommended that more clinics like this were set up to reach more men who were reluctant to go to their GPs.
However, Mr Chinegwundoh revealed that no new clinics have yet to be set up as "hard cash is yet to be found".
Director of NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, Julietta Patnick said:
- Watch Exposure: Too late to save your life on ITV tonight at 10.35pm
For more information on cancer visit the Cancer Research UK website