Poorer people in England are more likely to die from cancer compared ith those from more affluent backgrounds, a study suggests.
Researchers compared survival rates between 2004 and 2007 of patients suffering from the 14 most common cancers, basing their findings on five different economic groupings.
The King’s College London team found that more than 2,600 deaths among those from deprived backgrounds could have been prevented if survival chances were equal across socio-economic backgrounds.
The biggest discrepancy was that in the first month of diagnosis those from poorer areas were more likely to have late-stage cancer, which could be because they are less likely to go to their GP at the first sign of symptoms, or that they are not receiving a quick enough diagnosis.
The study, presented at the national cancer intelligence network (NCIN) conference, found that 490 deaths from breast cancer, 330 from lung cancer, 690 from bowel cancer and 330 from prostate cancer could be avoided if health inequalities on wealth grounds were eliminated.
NCIN head Chris Carrigan said: “We need to take a close look at factors like late diagnosis, uptake of screening and variations in treatment for people from different social and economic backgrounds if we are to reduce inequality in cancer survival.”
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