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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

Britain's migration rules causing 'anguish' for families

British citizens are being separated from partners and children from outside the European Union (EU) by new migration rules that are "causing anguish for families", a group of parliamentarians has found.

A breast-feeding mother separated from her British baby was among the cases the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Migration heard during its inquiry into the rules that came into force on in July last year.

A minimum earnings requirement for Britons wishing to sponsor a non-EU spouse is one of the key changes that is "tearing British families apart", the cross-party committee found.

Liberal Democrat APPG member Sarah Teather MP said: "We heard from many families in which British children are being made to grow up away from a parent, or where families had been forced to move overseas in order to be together. Whatever the objective of the policy, children shouldn't suffer."

UK population will be '40% ethnic minorities by 2050'

Britain is set to be the Western world's most ethnically diverse nation after 2050.
Britain is set to be the Western world's most ethnically diverse nation after 2050. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Britain will become one of the world's most ethnically diverse countries in less than 40 years, an academic study has found.

The proportion of minority groups living in Britain will rise from 10% in 2006 to 40% by 2050, the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford said.

The Observatory's Professor David Coleman said if current trends continue, the so-called majority-ethnic group in the UK - white British - will become a minority before 2070.

Prof Coleman said this assumption does not factor in the impact of current or future government attempts to reduce net migration.

"Migration has become the primary driver of demographic change in most high-income countries and may remain so.

"On current trends European populations will become more ethnically diverse, with the possibility that today's majority ethnic groups will no longer comprise a numerical majority in some countries."

South Africa: UK avoided proper protocol to cut aid

The South African government have accused their British counterparts of failing to go through the proper channels before announcing an end to the country's annual £19 million payment in Official Development Aid.

The Department of International Relations and Co-operation said it had noted the UK announcement "with regret", adding that the "major decision" had "far reaching implications on the projects that are current running" in South Africa.

A statement from the department added:

Ordinarily, the UK government should have informed the government of South Africa through official diplomatic channels of their intentions and allowed for proper consultations to take place, and the modalities of the announcement agreed on.

We have a SA/UK Bilateral Forum which is scheduled for some time this year and the review of the SA/UK strategy which includes the (Official Development Aid) would take place there and decisions about how to move forward were expected to be discussed in that forum.

The department said there was "no doubt" that the UK's announcement "will affect how our bilateral relations going forward will be conducted".

But it said it would use the forthcoming forum to "clear up this matter among others".

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UK angers South Africa with end to £19m yearly aid

Justine Greening said Britain was changing its relationship with South Africa to one of "mutual co-operation and trade". Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Britain has become embroiled in a diplomatic row with South Africa after announcing it will scrap £19 million in annual overseas aid to the country from 2015.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening sparked an angry reaction from Pretoria after declaring the country was now "in a position to fund its own development".

South Africa's Department of International Relations and Co-operation said Britain's decision to pull the plug on aid was "tantamount to redefining our relationship".

Foreign Secretary William Hague has this morning played down the spat, blaming it on "bureaucratic confusion".

Childcare 'expensive but worth it', research suggests

People in Britain rate the quality of childcare highly, despite it being expensive, new research has shown.

But many believe that care for the nation's elderly is below par and are concerned that the care for their elderly relatives is substandard.

A study of reviews left on feedback website the Good Care Guide gave childcare mainly positive feedback.

Feedback on the Good Care Guide said the quality of childcare in the UK was high.
Feedback on the Good Care Guide said the quality of childcare in the UK was high. Credit: Edmond Terakopian/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Care for the elderly was viewed as needing improvement, with nearly three quarters (71%) of negative reviews on the site directed towards care in the home provided by homecare agencies and care homes.

The Good Care Guide, launched a year ago, works like Trip Advisor, allowing people the chance to find, rate and review care providers.

The site analysed more than 2,000 reviews, describing those with 0-3 stars as negative, and those with 4-5 as positive, and found there was one negative for every eight positive.

Read: More stories on childcare in the UK.

Very little behind North Korea's daily threats

North Korea's nuclear threats to the US and its allies are daily and blistering but there is very little substance to them.

There is no evidence Kim Jong-un's country has accurate long range missiles, meaning that the US - and Britain - is not in imminent danger.

However, North Korea does have short and medium range missiles meaning that the threat is real for South Korea.

ITV News International Editor Bill Neely reports:

Read: Nervous times for Korean island in disputed territory.

Read: US admirably calm in the face of North Korean rhetoric.

RBS shareholders take action against former directors

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Shareholder Action Group has issued court proceedings against former directors.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Shareholder Action Group has issued court proceedings against former directors. Credit: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

More than 12,000 private shareholders have launched a potential £4 billion claim against the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and former bosses over its 2008 share issue.

The Royal Bank of Scotland Shareholder Action Group has issued court proceedings against former RBS directors Fred Goodwin, Tom McKillop, Johnny Cameron and Guy Whittaker.

The Action Group believes the bank’s directors sought to mislead shareholders by misrepresenting the financial strength of the bank and omitting critical information from the 2008 Rights Issue prospectus.

RBS, now majority-owned by the tax-payer, received a government bailout in 2008.

Read: The week for RBS just got even worse

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