Cancer survival rates warning

Britain's cancer survival rates are lagging behind the rest of Europe and other major economies, with just Poland and Ireland faring worse in some strains of the disease, an international health study has revealed.

Thousands of cancer patients 'die unnecessarily'

As many as 10,000 lives could be saved every year in Britain, if cancer treatment was more effective.

New figures show survival rates are among the worst in Europe. Part of the problem is the length of time it takes for cancer to be diagnosed.

Medical Editor Lawrence McGinty reports:

“It’s tragic. It means 10,000 people a year are dying of cancer completely unnecessarily,” cancer specialist Professor Karol Sikora says.

“The problem can be solved by fast-tracking diagnostic process – scans, biopsies not just for those likely to have cancer, but for everybody,” he says.

Research into cancer survival rates found that only the Czech Republic, Poland and Denmark had worse rates for surviving bowel cancer than Britain while cervical cancer rates were worse in only Ireland and Poland, the Health at a Glance 2013 study found.

Read: Cancer survival rates warning

NHS England says the first step is to increase awareness.

“Campaigns over the last two years have demonstrated that we can make improvements in patients’ awareness of symptoms – that’s the first step,“ says Sean Duffy, NHS England Cancer Services director.

UK 'lagging behind' Europe on cancer survival rates

Research into cancer survival rates found that only the Czech Republic, Poland and Denmark had worse rates for surviving bowel cancer than Britain while cervical cancer rates were worse in only Ireland and Poland, the Health at a Glance 2013 study found.

Here is a breakdown of the study's findings:

  • Britain also had higher rates of infant death than most other countries, the Health at a Glance 2013 study found.
  • It recorded 4.3 deaths out of every 1,000 births compared with the OECD average of 4.1.
  • Researchers also found that more than 40 per cent of 15 year olds in the UK have been drunk more than twice and it was one of four countries where more girls than boys reported drunkenness.

Read: Study reveals UK's cancer survival rates behind Europe

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Study reveals UK's cancer survival rates behind Europe

A new study suggests 10,000 lives a year could be saved in the UK.
A new study suggests 10,000 lives a year could be saved in the UK. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Britain's cancer survival rates are lagging behind the rest of Europe and other major economies, with just Poland and Ireland faring worse in some strains of the disease, an international health study has revealed.

Experts said 10,000 lives a year could be saved if the United Kingdom managed to simply meet the average rates achieved across Europe.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report compares key health records from its 34 member countries as well as the so-called BRIC countries and other nations where possible.

It found that women with breast cancer were more likely to reach the five-year survival point in almost all countries other than Britain, with only the Czech Republic, Poland and Ireland trailing behind.

Read: Rise in the number of children surviving cancer