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Cancer charity criticises care cover

A cancer charity has slammed the "shocking" postcode lottery which means sufferers in some parts of the country have significantly less chance of survival.

Cancer Research UK said there was "no excuse" for the differences and called for urgent action from the government.

The second annual cancer reform strategy report, released by the Department of Health, showed, for example, that a lung cancer patient in Herefordshire was three times more likely to die within a year of diagnosis than a patient in Kensington and Chelsea.

The report also showed almost all primary care trusts (PCTs) failed to match the best cancer survival rates in Europe.

The report showed:

  • For lung cancer, Kensington and Chelsea had the best one-year survival rate (43.7%) while the worst was in Herefordshire (15.4%). The national average was 28.1%.
  • For bowel cancer, one-year survival was 80% in Telford and Wrekin but just 57.9% in Waltham Forest. The international "good practice" level is 79%.
  • For breast cancer one-year survival was 99% in Torbay but just 89% in Tower Hamlets.

National Cancer Director Professor Mike Richards said: "This year we have seen a further fall in cancer mortality with the latest data showing a drop of almost 20% since 1997 and considerable improvements in the survival rates for breast, colon, rectum and prostate cancer.

"The challenge now is to keep up this momentum and this year I have identified tackling local variations as my top priority. I urge all PCTs to use this new data to take action so we can improve outcomes for all cancer patients."

Cancer Research UK