Postcode lottery for cancer care revealed

A postcode lottery in cancer care exists across England with huge variations in cancer survival rates from PCT to PCT, a DoH report has found.

Mike Richards, the DoH national cancer director for England, urged all PCTs to use this new data to take action

The variation among PCTs was biggest for lung cancer survival, with patients in Herefordshire three times more likely to die within a year of diagnosis compared with patients in Kensington and Chelsea, the report found.

For bowel cancer, one year survival reached 80 per cent in Telford and Wrekin while the worst rates were seen in Waltham Forest and Hastings and Rother, at 58 per cent.

Breast cancer survival was 99 per cent in Torbay, with the worst one-year survival rates, 89 per cent, in Tower Hamlets.

Almost all PCTs failed to match the best survival rates in Europe.

Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: ‘These shocking statistics confirm that the cancer postcode lottery remains a real problem.

‘Patients are undoubtedly not being diagnosed early enough in large parts of the country, nor are they getting equal access to the best treatments, such as surgery for lung cancer.

Professor Mike Richards, the DoH national cancer director for England, said: ‘I urge all PCTs to use this new data to take action so we can improve outcomes for all cancer patients.'

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