Brain cancer survival rates are lower in the east

The percentage of GP appointments held over the phone or virtually has risen during the coronavirus

Survival rates for brain cancer have been revealed (file photo) - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Survival rates for brain cancer are lower in the east of England than other parts of the country, according to a report presented to a Government committee. 

A report prepared for the Health and Social Care Committee revealed one-year survival rates for brain cancer in the east of England were just 36.3%, compared to 49.5% in north-central London. 

However, breast cancer survival rates were more optimistic and were considered to be better than in parts of London. 

Particular concern was raised about the level of cancer diagnosis at an early stage, with just 54% of cases diagnosed at stages one or two, which is considered vital for cancer survival. 

The aim is to diagnose 75% of cases by 2028, but there has been no improvement in the last six years, meaning that England lags behind comparable countries, such as Australia and Canada, for cancer survival rates. 

Life chances change dramatically depending on what stage the cancer is diagnosed, with 90% of bowel cancer patients living for five years or longer if diagnosed at the earliest stage, compared with just 10% at the latest stage. 

For breast cancer, 98% live for five years or more if detected early, compared to 24% at the latest stage, while the equivalent figures for prostate cancer were 100% survival at the earliest stage and 40% later. 

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An NHS England spokesperson said cancer was a priority for the NHS and ways of diagnosing cancer earlier were being implemented, including extra lung health checks in car parks and awareness campaigns, while a new blood test was being rolled out to detect more than 50 types of cancer. 

She said: “We have been seeing referrals for cancer checks at record highs for the last 11 months – with more than 567,000 people starting cancer treatment since the start of the pandemic. 

“By investing £3.8 billion in increased treatment and diagnostic capacity through the Elective Recovery Plan we aim to ensure that we are catching and treating more cancers at an early stage and saving even more lives.” 

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said £2billion was invested last year and a further £8bn will be spent over the next three years to reduce the backlog in cases caused by the pandemic and provide 160 community diagnostic centres by 2025.