The study of over 20 million cancer patients found survival in the UK is worse than every country in western Europe. Only patients in eastern Europe and the Balkans fare worst.
England has survival rates 10 per cent lower than a group of our European neighbours
Survival rates for cancer treatment in Britain lag up to ten years behind those in the best Western European countries with survival rates 10 per cent lower than a group of our European neighbours, with five-year survival in lung cancer diagnosis being almost half what it is in Austria
This is usually put down to late diagnosis. Experts reported the major differences reflected poor rates of early diagnosis in the UK, with one in five cancers not spotted until a patient arrives at Accident & Emergency departments.
However, a 2015 report by health researchers the IMS Institute showed the NHS in England spends less on new cancer treatment per patient than Scotland, Sweden, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the US.
Cancer survival rates in Britain lag more than ten years behind those in many other European countries.
Even for breast cancer – one of the most treatable forms of the disease – the cancer treatment figures are still well below those reached by France, Sweden and Italy in the late 1990s.
For lung cancer treatment the rates are so far behind that patients in England and Wales are only just over half as likely to survive as those in some parts of Europe, with 10 per cent surviving five years here compared to 18 per cent in Austria.
In 2013 research in the Lancet showed that the UK’s survival rates were worse than the European average for most cancers, and worse for some types than Estonia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia.
Five-year breast cancer survival was 79.1 per cent in England, 78.5 per cent in Scotland, and 78.2 per cent in Wales.
In Sweden the figure is 86 per cent, with an European average of 81.8 per cent.
In England, 80.3 per cent of men with prostate cancer were alive five years later, compared with 90.2 per cent in Austria, 90 per cent in Finland and a European average of 83.4 per cent.
In Wales the figure is 78 per cent, and in Scotland the figure is 78.8 per cent.
For bowel cancer treatment, five-year survival in England is 51.3 per cent, with a figure of 53.9 per cent in Scotland, and 49.9 per cent in Wales.
The European average was 57 per cent, while survival rates in Germany survival were 62.2 per cent.
The data also shows no narrowing of the gap between the UK and the rest of Europe, since similar research was carried out on patients diagnosed three years earlier.
Other research suggests that if the UK caught up with the European average, an estimated 10,000 lives would be saved a year.
Macmillan Cancer Support has described the situation as ‘shameful’ and warns too many patients are dying needlessly here when they would survive had they been treated elsewhere in Europe.
England spends only £7,671 per new cancer patient, compared to £16,661 in the US, the IMS Institute report found.
Out of 10 countries – England, Scotland, Sweden, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, the US, Italy and Spain – England spends the least, it found.
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