More investment needed in East Lancashire cancer treatment

First published in News

A HEALTH campaigner has called for more investment in cancer services after new statistics showed Lancashire has some of the worst survival rates in England.

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the county’s one-year survival rate for lung cancer was just 23.7 per cent, which was the lowest proportion out of 25 health regions.

The number of lung cancer sufferers surviving for at least five years was just 6.5 per cent, the second lowest rate.

Only a third of those with oesophagus cancer survived a year, the joint lowest one-year rate, while the five-year rate for this condition was the third lowest.

The survival rates for colon, stomach and breast cancer were also well below the national average.

NHS chiefs suggested the poor survival rates were due to too many patients being diagnosed at a late stage.

Russ McLean, chairman of the Pennine Lancashire Patient Voices Group, said: “Historically, Lancashire is an area where people have been loathe to go and have investigations into their health, and it concerns me that people don’t seem to be getting the message from the NHS campaigns that are going on.

“I’d like to see more investment in this area to improve people’s awareness, but also to improve the treatments and services, because waiting times and the quality of care will also affect the survival figures.”

A spokesman for NHS England, which commissions cancer screenings, said: “Progress is currently being made in a number of key areas in order to achieve this including improvements in cancer screening, with the recent introduction of Bowel Scope Screening. There is also important work being done to promote the earlier diagnosis of symptomatic cancers through the Be Clear on Cancer campaign.

“In addition there is significant progress being made in providing better access to the best available cancer treatments such as Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT), as well as work to improve care for cancer survivors.

“During the next year we will also be undertaking work to tackle lifestyle factors, such as smoking, which are responsible for over a third of cancers as well as working to improve the uptake of screening amongst disadvantaged groups.”

The survival rates for cervix, prostate and bladder cancer in Lancashire were better than the national average.

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