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Britain lagging behind Europe in diagnosing and treating cancer, report finds
The UK is trailing behind other European countries when it comes to diagnosing and treating cancer, a new report says.
The study, commissioned by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) – which represents drugs firms, also points to worse survival rates in the UK.
Compared to the average for Europe, the UK lags behind on nine out of 10 cancers when it comes to survival – including bowel, lung, breast, ovarian, prostate and kidney cancer.
The UK has the second worst survival rates for lung cancer and the second worst survival for pancreatic cancer.
The UK also spends more than 20 per cent less per person on cancer than other EU economies – including the Netherlands, Italy and France, the report from Swedish researchers said.
According to the analysis, if the UK achieved the cancer survival rates of Germany, more than 35,000 more people would be alive five years after diagnosis.
And if the UK had the cancer death rates of France, more than 100,000 women’s deaths could be prevented over the next decade.
The report also said that cancer medicines introduced in the last five years account for only 10 per cent of cancer medicine costs per year, suggesting the UK is using older medicines.
Dr Richard Torbett, executive director at the ABPI, said: “The report shows the impact that comparatively lower levels of UK investment in cancer is having on the quality of care available to British patients.
“We are seeing that investment in cancer diagnosis and treatments like surgery, medicine and radiotherapy, in countries across Europe is leading to better survival rates and we have to ask whether this should be the ambition for the NHS.
“This should be a wake-up call for the UK to refocus the way we tackle cancer across the board.
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