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Report: Almost half of cancers 'caught too late'

Almost half of cancers diagnosed in England are discovered late, knocking back the chances of successful treatment, according to a report.

Testing for cancer has evolved past a standard biopsy - these blood tests were used to screen men for prostate cancer. Credit: PA

Some 52,000 cancer patients could improve their chances of survival if they were diagnosed early - and save the NHS £210 million, the report from Cancer Research UK claims.

Experts believe if all cancer patients had tumours detected earlier an extra 5,000 people would survive five years or more after their initial diagnosis.

Lung cancer had the worst record of delayed diagnosis, with 77% of cases being spotted late.

Early-stage tumours can often be removed by surgery, but once a cancer has started to spread around the body it becomes much more difficult and costly to treat.

Study finds wild berry effective in cancer treatment

Scientists believe a wild berry native to North America may strengthen the effectiveness of a chemotherapy drug commonly used to treat pancreatic cancer.

Researchers at King's College Hospital and the University of Southampton found that adding extracts of the berry to chemotherapy cycles may improve the effectiveness of conventional drugs.

The team tested the effectiveness of chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) in killing off cancer cells.

Chokeberry is a wild berry that grows on the eastern side of North America and is high in vitamins and antioxidants.

The research was published online in the Journal of Clinical Pathology.

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'Significant' rise in skin cancer cases in last five years

The number of people being admitted to English hospitals with skin cancer has risen by 41% in just five years, according to new figures.

Public Health England figures show admissions for both non-melanoma skin cancer and malignant melanoma rose from 87,685 in 2007 to 123,808 in 2011.

Applying sun cream is one way to ward off the danger of skin cancer. Credit: Myung Jung Kim/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The study also found that the overall cost of inpatient treatment for skin cancers in 2011 was more than £95 million.

The British Association of Dermatologists said skin cancer was largely preventable and more needed to be done to educate people about the "serious risks" of exposure to the sun.

Number of deaths from breast cancer 'falls by 38%'

The number of deaths from breast cancer has fallen by almost 40% since the early 1990s, according new data from Cancer Research UK.

The charity said there has been improved detection of breast cancer through routine screening and experts have developed more specialist care and effective treatments. The figures show:

  • Breast cancer - death rate falls by 38%
  • Bowel cancer - death rate falls by 34%
  • Lung cancer - death rate falls by 27%
  • Prostate cancer - death rate falls by 21%

Death rates for common cancers 'drop by a third'

Death rates for four cancers which account for half of all cancer deaths in the UK have fallen by almost a third since the early 1990s, new figures show.

Over the last two decades the combined death rates for breast, bowel, lung and prostate cancer have fallen by 30%, according to data from Cancer Research UK.

Death rates for four cancers fallen by almost a third since the early 1990s Credit: PA

Between 1991 and 1993, 146 people out of every 100,000 could have expected to die from one of these four cancers but by 2010 to 2012 these figures dipped to 102 out of every 100,000.

The cancer charity said that the figures show that research has had a "powerful impact" on the fight against the disease.

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England's cancer survival rates a 'disgrace'

Cancer survival rates in England are "disgracefully" low, the charity behind research which revealed a postcode lottery of cancer care across the country said.

"It is a disgrace that our survival rates continue to lag behind other European countries," Juliet Bouverie, director of services and influencing at Macmillan Cancer Support, said, warning that we face falling further behind.

The charity has estimated that if the survival rates of the best-performing areas in England were matched across the country, 6,000 more cancer patients would survive.

They also found areas with the poorest survival rates are on average failing to meet at least one key NHS waiting time target for treatment.

This analysis shows an inexcusable postcode lottery which is responsible for 6,000 people dying needlessly within 12 months of being diagnosed with cancer every year,

It's a no-brainer - when patients have to wait longer for diagnosis and treatment their chances of surviving are significantly reduced.

It is also a disgrace that our survival rates continue to lag behind other European countries. Failure to act now will see us fall further behind.

All the Westminster political parties must make cancer a top health priority ahead of the general election and commit to reducing the number of people who are diagnosed late.

– Juliet Bouverie

'Four in ten' English cancer patients die in worst regions

Macmillan Cancer Support has released figures that show four in ten cancer patients die within 12 months in the worst-performing English regions.

In Barking and Dagenham, east London, 38% of patients die within a year of diagnosis.

The same proportion of patients die in this time frame in Crawley, West Sussex, Newham, east London, Swale, Kent, Thanet, also in Kent, and the Vale Royal health area - which covers Winsford, Northwich and surrounding rural areas in Cheshire.

According to Macmillan's analysis of Office for National Statistics data, 37% of people in Medway, Kent, die within 12 months of diagnosis, 36% die within a year in Waltham Forest, north east London, and the same proportion die in this time frame in Telford and Wrekin in the West Midlands and in Luton, Bedfordshire.

'Inexcusable postcode lottery' of cancer care in England

Areas with the worst survival rates for cancer have been named and shamed by a charity after it said there is an "inexcusable" postcode lottery of care across England.

Macmillan Cancer Support said that there are wide regional variations in the proportion of patients who do not survive a year after diagnosis.

Debate rages over publicising GPs who spot cancer

The debate about whether GPs should be named and shamed if they repeatedly fail to spot the signs of cancer has divided opinion.

Rachel Bown who went to her doctor three times before eventually being diagnosed with a tumor said: "If GPs continually not diagnose, it's absolutely vital that they are publicised."

However, Dr. Chaan Nagpul said he feared the plan would push doctors into indiscriminately sending people for cancer tests. He said:

"The simplest thing for GPs to do would be to refer everyone with the faintest possibility of cancer to hospital. Now that would massively clog up clinics."

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