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  • UK cancer survival rates trailing behind rest of Europe despite extra funding

    Cancer Survival rates in the UK are trailing behind the rest of Europe and are on par with some eastern European countries despite extra funding, according to a study published today.

    The study, published in the Lancet Oncology medical journal, suggested that cancer plans introduced in England in 2000 and Scotland in 2001 are not working and that boosting figures would take a massive re-working of NHS services.

    The survey, carried out by Eurocare, looked at cancer survival rates of 2.7 million people with cancer across Europe, found that the highest survival rates in the Nordic north, and the lowest rates in eastern European countries like Poland, were narrowing, but that the UK remains low.

    Richard Sullivan, director of clinical programmes at Cancer Research UK, suggests the problems lie in ignoring initial warning signs, and with low people-power in radiology.

    Speaking to the Guardian, he said: ‘We’re improving but we’re still chasing the northern European countries. The question is how do you step up a gear to change things for the future? There’s no reason we should be trailing behind Sweden and Denmark.

    ‘There are two major problems: in treatment we have a serious problem with radiology and having enough people trained to do it. In diagnosis…for cultural and gender reasons people will ignore the first signs that there is something wrong. We need renewed education programmes to prevent this.’

    But some researchers have suggested the effects of the national cancer plan in 2000 were unlikely to be seen in this particular study.

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