Research has found more than 50,000 people a year are dying prematurely because early signs of cancer have been missed. Half of the cancer diagnoses in England are made at a late stage, condemning 52,000 patients a year to an early death. Cancer Research UK says, 46 percent of cancers in England are diagnosed at a late stage, in which they are much harder to treat. But why?
Why Are Patients Getting Late Cancer Diagnoses?
The report warns that these patients could live longer if the cancer diagnosis rates across the country matched those in the best-performing areas. Charities have described Britain’s cancer survival rates as a “national shame” compared to other countries. Out of the 52,000 cancer patients 5,000 of them could expect at least an extra 5 years according to a study which examined seven cancers including:
- Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma,
According to Sara Hiom, director of early diagnosis at Cancer Research UK, said some of the general practitioners were not spotting enough suspected cancer cases. While in other cases, delays occurred after they tried to refer patients to specialists. Lung cancer was most likely to be detected late with about 77 percent of cases diagnosed at stage three or four, which are the last two stages of the diseases. Bowel, ovarian, and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma were also likely to be spotted, while breast cancer was likely to be detected early.
What Is The UK Doing To Help Start Cancer Diagnoses Early?
Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK Harpal Kumar believes the reports shows why doctors must do more to ensure that patients begin treatment as early as possible to improve the survival rate. Kumar says, “It provides a compelling case for substantial investments in efforts to achieve earlier diagnosis. Not to invest in earlier diagnosis is to fail cancer patients.” National clinical director for cancer at NHS (National Health Service) England, Dr. Sean Duffy, “NHS England welcomes the Cancer Research UK report which emphasizes the importance of diagnosing cancer at an earlier stage. We are working closely with Cancer research UK to support the NHS to improve outcomes for patients through earlier stage diagnosis. ”