Cancer Research UK: Survival highest when diagnosed early

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According to newly published figures by Cancer Research UK, cancer survival is the highest when diagnosed early with the survival rate falling to just 5 per cent for those who are diagnosed at stage four.

According to the figures released by the charity, for eight common cancers – bladder, bowel, breast, cervical, womb, malignant melanoma, ovarian and testicular cancers – as many as 80 per cent patients survive for at least 10 years if their cancer is diagnosed at stage one or two; however, the survival rate drops to just 25 per cent if the cancer is diagnosed at stage three or four. The stage of cancer is determined by how large the tumour is and how far it has spread in the body.

Though the eight cancers highlighted by Cancer Research UK account for 40 per cent of all cancer cases in the UK, almost 25 per cent of the cases are diagnosed at stage 3 or 4 – something that can be improved upon to increase the survival rates.

One of the reasons why the survival rate is high when cancer is diagnosed early is that there are a lot more treatment options available as compared to in the later stages. Further, there have been prior reports by the charity wherein it is shown that the earlier the diagnosis, the lesser the costs involved with treatment of cancer.

“Early diagnosis and ensuring patients have access to the best treatment is essential to further improving survival from cancer”, said ancer Research UK’s director of early diagnosis, Sara Hiom. “We need increased funding in NHS services and more research to develop tests to spot cancer sooner, and help more people to beat the disease.”

Cancer Research UK has called on the government to act on the recommendations put forward by the charity to increase the number of people diagnosed at an early stage across all cancer types thereby improving the outlook for thousands of people with the disease.

The charity is optimistic that its new cancer strategy and NICE’s updated referral guidelines for suspected cancer, will both contribute to a higher proportion of patients with cancer being diagnosed at an earlier stage with more favourable results.