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Almost half of cancer patients diagnosed ‘too late’

Cancer Research UK claims 46% are diagnosed at advanced stage

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Almost half of people with cancer are diagnosed late - making treatment less likely to succeed, according to a new report.

Cancer Research's Incisive Health found that 46% of patients in England have their disease diagnosed when it has already reached an advanced stage and consequently face reduced survival chances.

Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive, said: “Earlier diagnosis saves lives and it could save critical NHS funds. In the face of an overstretched NHS and a projected growing number of cancers diagnosed in the years ahead, we need to do everything we can to ensure that all patients have access to the best treatment as early as possible.”

The study claims that early diagnosis for four types of cancer alone could save the NHS over £44m in treatment costs and benefits over 11,000 patients each year.

For example, the report states that treating colon cancer at its earliest stage costs £3,373 compared to £12,519 when treated at its last stage and ovarian cancer cost increased from £5,323 to £15,081. It also claims that some areas of England are between three and five times better at detecting certain types of cancer than others, a situation that must be addressed seriously, it said.

The study found that if lung cancer is diagnosed early, seven in ten patients will live for at least a year but only one in four do so when it is detected late. In bowel cancer, nine in ten patients survive for at least five years with an early diagnosis but fewer than one in ten do so when the disease has reached stage three to four upon identification.

Sara Hiom, director of early diagnosis at CR UK, added: “It's vital that people are aware of their body and if they notice anything unusual for them they should visit their GP. GPs play a critical role of course, knowing when symptoms need to be investigated and referring patients promptly for tests.”

Article by
Kirstie Pickering

25th September 2014

From: Healthcare

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