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UK at bottom of countries ranked by deadliest cancer survival rates – research

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The UK is at the bottom of a list of countries ranked by survival rates of some of the deadliest cancers, a study has found.

The UK came 25th, 26th and 27th out of 29 countries for its five-year survival rates of pancreatic, stomach and lung cancer respectively, UK research shows.

Research carried out by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine shows the UK had a five-year survival rate half that of the highest performing country.

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For cancers diagnosed between 2010 and 2014, the UK had an average five-year survival rate of just 15.97% compared to South Korea, which had a rate of 32.78%.

It ranked 14th for oesophagus cancer, 21st for liver cancer, and 22nd for brain cancer.

The research, published in 2018 in the Lancet and shared to mark World Cancer Day, is part of Concord, their global programme for world-wide surveillance of cancer survival.

Less survivable cancers make up around half of all common cancer deaths in the UK.

This is due to a “legacy neglect and underfunding”, the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce (LSCT) says.

Anna Jewell, LSCT chairwoman, said: “We believe that the reasons for the unacceptably poor survival rates for these cancers in the UK are complex and multifaceted and our solutions need to reflect this.

“Less survivable cancers are difficult to diagnose and we know that diagnosis often takes place in hospital when the cancer has had a chance to spread and treatment options are more limited.

“We urgently need investment in research, symptom awareness campaigns, a focus on earlier diagnosis and better, faster pathways to treatment for patients if we’re going to close the deadly cancer gap.”

The taskforce, which includes charities such as Pancreatic Cancer UK, the Brain Tumour Charity and the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, is aiming to double survival rates of less survivable cancers by 2029.