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UK cancer survival rates lag behind Europe

Cancer survival rates for adults in the UK are lower than the European average, say experts.  

An analysis of data from 83 cancer registers across 23 European countries found that the UK had the second to last survival rate for breast, colorectal, lung, prostrate and ovarian cancers.

Survival rates were highest in Nordic Countries and central Europe and worse in eastern Europe.

People in Denmark and the UK were least likely to survive cancer of all types compared with countries that shared similar total national expenditure on health (TNEH).

But it's not all bad news, the experts add that cancer survival rate differences between countries in Europe have narrowed in recent years and generally increased between 1994 and 1999.

Franco Berrino at the Fondazione Istituto Naxionale dei Tumori and colleagues commented: "Wealthy countries with high TNEH generally had good cancer outcomes, but those with conspicuously worse outcomes than those with similar TNEH might not be allocating health resources efficiently."

The Lancet Oncology