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Cancer survival rates 'lag behind Europe'

20 July 2017 08:13

Cancer survival rates are lower in the UK than in many European countries

Cancer survival rates are lower in the UK than in many European countries

A report has criticised survival rates in the UK for a number of cancers.

The UK has the second-worst survival rates for lung cancer in Europe, according to a study commissioned by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).

Lagging behind

UK cases of pancreatic cancer also share the second-worst survival rate in Europe. The study also found Britain was behind the European average when it came to bowel and lung cancers.

When it came to spending, researchers said per-person spending on cancer in the UK is more than a fifth lower than in France and Italy.

People who have had cancer can arrange specialist medical travel insurance should they need to travel overseas.

What the experts say

Dr Richard Torbett, executive director at the ABPI, said: "The report shows the impact that comparatively lower levels of UK investment in cancer is having on the quality of care available to British patients.

"We are seeing that investment in cancer diagnosis and treatments like surgery, medicine and radiotherapy, in countries across Europe is leading to better survival rates and we have to ask whether this should be the ambition for the NHS.

"This should be a wake-up call for the UK to refocus the way we tackle cancer across the board."

Emma Greenwood, Cancer Research UK's director of policy, said: "Five-year cancer survival in the UK has improved, but overall we still lag behind other similar countries, except for breast cancer, where the UK is narrowing this gap."