The UK's breast cancer survival rate is below average / PA


Britain’s survival rates for nine of the ten most common forms of cancer lag behind the European averages, a major study has shown.

The Eurocare-5 study, which looked at five year survival rates from more nine million cancer patients from 29 European countries, revealed that the UK is below average for cancers including lung, breast and prostate cancer.

In findings described by Macmillan Cancer Support as “truly depressing”, Britain achieved higher than average rates for just one form of cancer, melanoma, which had a 85.6 per cent survival rate compared to a European mean average of 83.2 per cent.

The UK and Ireland also had the lowest survival rates for patients in their seventies and eighties. The findings were published in The Lancet Oncology.

Ciaran Devane, Macmillan’s chief executive the figures were a “wake-up call” for the NHS.

“One in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime so this is a big deal…There is no reason why the UK should lag behind the rest of Europe when it comes to either certain cancers or survival rates for older cancer patients.”

The figures refer to patients who began receiving treatment for cancer between 2000 and 2007. Sweden, Norway and Finland had the best survival rates. The worst performing countries included former Soviet bloc nations including Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Slovakia.