UK cancer survival rates 'low'

UK survival rates for nine out of the 10 most common cancers are lower than the European average, despite two decades of improvement in diagnosis and treatment, a major study has found.

Survival rates for cancer in the UK and Europe

According to the Eurocare-5 study on five year survival rates across Europe found:

  • Breast cancer - in the UK and Ireland 79.2% survived, 84.7% in northern Europe and a European average of 81.8%.
  • Prostate cancer - UK and Ireland, 80.6%, Northern Europe, 85%, and the European average, 83.4%.
  • Stomach cancer - 17.2% in the UK and Ireland. European average of 25.1%.
  • Rectal cancer - UK, 53.7%; European average 55.8%.
  • Lung cancer - UK, 9%; European average 13%.
  • Kidney cancer - UK, 47.6%; European average 60.6%.
  • The worst survival rates were seen in Eastern European countries, though the gap between east and west was closing, according to the study authors.

UK survival rates for cancer 'below European average'

The UK is lagging behind Europe in survival rates for nine out of the 10 most common cancers, a major study has shown.

Breast cancer
Cancer survival rates are still worryingly low in the UK, despite efforts to improve oncology. Credit: PA

The Eurocare-5 study painted a disappointing picture for the five year survival rate for stomach, colon, rectal, lung, melanoma skin, breast, ovarian, prostate, kidney cancers and the blood cancer non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the UK.

Despite improvements in diagnosis and treatment beginning as far back as the 1990s, data from more than nine million adult patients revealed survival was lower than the average of more than 20 European countries.

These included countries which had previously fallen behind the Iron Curtain and had exceptionally poor health care, like Bulgaria.

Read more: Cancer survival rates warning

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