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Major Study Shows UK Cancer Survival Falling Behind

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A major study published in Lancet Oncology shows that cancer survival rates for seven key cancers are on the rise, but that the UK is improving survival the slowest of high income countries.

The improvement is linked to technological advancements in treatment and more sophisticated surgical options, but it has not yet closed the gap to countries such as Canada and Australia.

The study showed that the UK is the worst for key cancers including lung, colon, rectum, stomach and pancreas out of the countries studied.

“Improving survival rates of cancer can be thought of as a double edged sword – on one side we have advancements in treatments and surgical options, and on the other, catching the disease early. This report and analysis from senior figures places improvements as coming from advances in treatment and surgery, but the most significant difference is made when cancer is caught early.

More impetus should be put on catching these diseases early if we are to make a serious dent in the number of lives cancer claims each and every year and catch up with the nations that we are currently falling behind. If the same focus were to be put on early diagnosis that treatments and surgeries currently receive, we could see an unprecedented increase in cancer survival.”

— Wesley Baker, CEO of ANCON Medical

So why is it that the UK is falling behind other high income countries in the battle against cancer? The answer more often than not comes down to the stage of diagnosis.

Research cites ‘a chronic lack of skilled diagnostic staff’ as a major driver behind the estimation that 115,000 cancer patients in England are being diagnosed at an advanced stage each year, too late to have the best chance of survival.

5 year survival stage 1 diagnosis vs stage 4

  • Lung cancer 56.6% vs 2.9%

  • Prostate cancer 100.1% vs 49%

  • Breast cancer 97.9% vs 26.2%

  • Colorectal 91.7% vs 10.3%

  • Kidney 86.8% vs 12.4%

When dealing with serious illness, especially cancer, a fast, accurate and timely diagnosis is imperative in allowing patients the best possible chance of survival.

Catching cancer at an early stage not only results in a less serious problem to treat but also leaves more options at a doctor’s disposal.

Whilst research into innovative treatments and novel solutions to late stage cancers will often grab the headlines, it is likely that in future better diagnosis and screening will have a greater impact of survival rates and the current funding deficit that exists within the NHS.

ANCON Medical’s revolutionary Nanoparticle Biomarker Tagging (NBT) technology allows for quick, accurate and cheap diagnosis, with 10 minutes at the point of care.

The technology works by analysing a patient’s breath to detect unique biological markers that indicate the presence of cancer, as well as the stage it is at.