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UK lung cancer rate high

More than 117,000 lives could be saved every year if the NHS matched the best performing health systems in Europe.

More than 117,000 lives could be saved every year if the NHS matched the best performing health systems in Europe increasing survival levels to the average European level, according to a report from think-tank, the Bow Group.

Some 88 lives a day, or 32,000 a year, could be saved noted Bow, whose report also identified that UK survival rates for lung cancer are one of the lowest in Europe.

Statistically, in England and Wales just 6 per cent of people who developed lung cancer are still alive five years after diagnosis, while in Scotland this number falls to only 1 in 20 patients. In contrast, some 13 per cent of Austrians and 12 per cent of French patients will be alive five years after a similar diagnosis.

Chairman of the Bow Group, Chris Philps, said: ìYou have a two and a half times better chance of surviving lung cancer if you are from Austria or France than in Scotland. Survival rates are also lower [in the UK] than in Estonia, Poland and Slovakia.î

Further data from the Bow Group's report showed that the number of Britons dying from lung diseases is approximately 70 per cent higher than the European Union average.

The report found that in 2003 the UK death rate for lung disease was 126.1 per 100,000 people, while the EU average was 73.6 per 100,000 people.

Separate research has shown that the number of lung cancer cases in Scotland has fallen by 4 per cent between 1997 and 2000, which is mainly because many people have stopped smoking. However, a third of Glaswegian men smoke, which has bucked the national trend considerably.

30th September 2008

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