Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

UK among the Worst for Survival Rates

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

UK among the Worst for Survival Rates

Article excerpt


BRITAIN'S shameful record on cancer care was exposed today in the biggest ever international study on the disease.

England, Scotland and Wales languish near the bottom of new league tables for the number of patients alive five years after diagnosis.

Patients are up to 30 per cent less likely to survive some cancers than in other parts of Europe.

Doctors blame decades of under-investment, with poor screening and a desperate shortage of specialists.

Evidence of Britain's failure to tackle cancer as effectively as other countries emerged in a European Union-funded study of 1.8 million adults and 24,000 children diagnosed with cancer in the 1990s. The research project compared data from 19 countries and covered 42 types of cancer.

Britain ranked sixth from last in the league.

Among the common diseases causing concern are prostate, breast and colon cancers, with prostate cancer patients in the UK 30 per cent less likely to survive than those in Austria.

One of the report's authors Michael Coleman, Professor of Epidemiology and Vital Statistics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: "We don't have as many cancer specialists as other countries but part of the problem lies with patients themselves. They don't go to their doctors soon enough."

Countries with the most impressive survival rates are France and Austria.

Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Sweden also performed well.

Average five-year survival rates across Europe ranged from a high of 94 per cent for lip cancer to less than four per cent for pancreatic cancer.

Survival rates of 80 per cent or better occurred with testicular cancer, thyroid cancer, certain types of skin cancer and Hodgkin's disease.

However, about a quarter of all adult cancers fell into the worst prognosis category - including cancers of the lung, oesophagus, brain and liver. …

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