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Cancer survival rates vary by geography

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Cancer patients face “wide and persistent” variations in survival rates depending on where they live, officials said.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that it had observed “wide geographic disparities” in survival rates for patients in England who were diagnosed between 2004 and 2006.

For some of the most common cancers, the percentage of people who lived for a year after diagnosis was almost 20% higher in some of England’s 28 regional cancer registries when compared to others.

Figures showed 49% of women diagnosed with cancer in north-west London survived for one year, while in Avon, Somerset and Wiltshire the figure stood at just 29.4%.

For men’s stomach cancer, 46.6% of patients survived for one year in north-west London while only 29.2% of those diagnosed in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and south Worcestershire lived for a year.

There were also disparities with survival rates for people diagnosed with bladder cancer - 58.9% of women in Kent and Medway survived for one year compared with 75.8% in north London. In south Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, 82.7% of men lived for a year after diagnosis compared to 73.8% of men in south Yorkshire, north Derbyshire and Bassetlaw and Essex.

North-west London had the best one-year survival rates for lung cancer patients, with 36.7% of women and 32.2% of men surviving for a year. But in Lancashire and south Cumbria only 23.5% of women and 21.7% of men survived for the same time period.

In north-east London five-year survival for women with breast and cervical cancer was significantly below the national average. Researchers found that 76.6% of women with breast cancer survived for five years - 6.7% below the national level - and 52.3% of cervical cancer patients survived for the time frame - 11.0% lower than the national average.

While there were wide variations reported by the ONS, researchers also found that one-year and five-year survival rates for adults increased overall for eight common cancers between 2002-2006.


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