Cancer survival rates in Britain lag behind

LATEST STATISTICS show that Britain still lags behind Europe and the United States in terms of cancer survival but the reasons are not straightforward.

Comparisons between the UK and the US show a significantly better outlook for American patients, irrespective of what cancer they have. For some cancers the difference in survival rates can be enormous. The figures appear to show, for instance, that American men are twice as likely to survive for five years or more with prostate cancer than their British counterparts.

Specialists, however, warn that there are differences in the way statistics are gathered, which may at least partly explain why Britons appear to be at greater risk of dying from cancer.

In the case of prostate cancer, most men with tumours will die of other causes before their cancer has had time to spread. In the US they are classified as cancer survivors, which is less likely in the UK. This is why more than 80 per cent of men with prostate cancer are classified as being cured in the US but the "comparable" figure is just 40 per cent in the UK.

Another difference that can skew the statistics is that in Britain there is a national cancer registry which means that the figures are truly representative of the whole population. In the US, however, the cancer statistics are collected by a few regional centres which means there is a greater chance of unrepresentative figures.

Professor Karol Sikora, an expert at the Hammersmith Hospital in London, nevertheless believes that the latest figures on cancer survival show that Britain is genuinely worse off than the US and many European countries.

"Most of us in cancer medicine believe we are falling behind. One of the reasons is the lack of investment in cancer care with the small number of specialists available compared with other European and north American countries," he said.

"The biggest problem in this country is that you can get the best care in the world and sometimes you can get very poor quality care. Some get first-class treatment whereas others suffer delays in the system."

People in Britain still regard the NHS as a charity rather than something they have paid for and as a result put up with delays in treatment, he said. "There are waiting lists for breast-cancer treatment of over three months in certain areas of the country. That would not be tolerated in France, Germany or America," Professor Sikora said.

Britain, however, should experience improvements in cancer survival, he added.

Suggested Topics
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Administrative Assistant

£60 - £75 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Administrative Assitant Hertford...

Web Application Support Manager

£60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Reigate...

** Secondary History Teacher Required In Liverpool **

£120 - £165 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

** Secondary Geography Teacher Required In Liverpool **

£120 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments