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MPs: Survival rates for cancer are poor for older people

Survival rates and access to treatment for cancer are poor for older people in particular, which is especially concerning as three in five cancers are diagnosed in people aged over 65, an MPs report said. It criticised NHS England for not understanding what lies behind the variations and not using the available data to hold poorly performing local areas to account.

With more than one in three people developing cancer in their lifetime, cancer touches the lives of all of us at some point, and the Department of Health spends over £6.7 billion on cancer services a year.

That is why it is so concerning that the Department of Health and NHS England have lost momentum in the drive to improve cancer services in the last two years.

More and more people are getting cancer but the resources available to support improvement have gone down.

– PAC chairwoman Margaret Hodge

The cross-party group of MPs said that although the number of people diagnosed with cancer continues to increase, leadership has been lost, the support for commissioners and providers to drive improvement has been reduced, and fragmentation of accountability has made progress more difficult.

MPs: 'Lost momentum' in improving cancer services

MPs have warned that the Department of Health and NHS England have "lost momentum" in improving cancer services in the last two years.

MPs: 'Lost momentum' in improving cancer services. Credit: PA

While survival rates continue to improve, nearly a third of people still die within a year of being diagnosed and around half do not survive for five years. This places the UK in a poor position compared to the rest of Europe, the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said.

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