West Suffolk’s cancer survival rates hailed as best in the region


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Cancer survival rates for those living in west Suffolk are the best in the East of England, new figures reveal.

One-year cancer survival rates are also above the national average and up on the previous year’s figures.

NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) revealed the news at a governing body meeting this week.

The figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the one year survival rate for patients in west Suffolk diagnosed with cancer is 72%, higher than any other CCG area in the East of England and higher than the national average of 69%.

These cancer figures follow data published last year, which showed that 59% of cancers in the West Suffolk CCG area are diagnosed at stage one or two, higher than anywhere else in the country and significantly above the national average of 41%.

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Dr Andrew Yager, a GP in Botesdale and cancer lead for the CCG, said: “West Suffolk GPs, local hospital trusts, the CCG and Suffolk Public Health all share the same commitment to ensuring as many people as possible survive cancer.

“These new cancer survival rate figures show that a positive outcome is best achieved for the patient if they get the cancer diagnosis early on. Our CCG is committed to increasing the levels of early diagnosis and, with our healthcare partners, have worked hard to raise awareness of cancer symptoms.

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“People should always seek advice from their GP if they have any concerns about cancer symptoms. It’s always best to get checked out, so please don’t think you are wasting your GP’s time.”

The data relates to survival figures from 2013, with members of the CCG hoping that the good performance has been improved upon further in 2014. The meeting also heard about a project launched by the CCG, which has been helping diagnose cancer earlier and save money.

Known as teledermatology, the digital service helps patients with skin lesions, where high resolution pictures of the affected area are taken at GP surgeries and sent to specialists to view remotely.

This avoids the need for lengthy appointments at the hospital with consultants and helps rule out benign lesions.

Dr Rakesh Raja, GP and CCG joint lead for the Sudbury locality, said: “We are seeing a large increase in the use of this service as more GPs start to offer it.

“Patients with benign lesions are being dealt with quicker and getting that peace of mind.

“Early measures show that we are spotting (skin) cancers much earlier than they would have actually been spotted before.”

The CCG meeting, held on Wednesday, was also chairman Dr Christoper Browing’s last, after serving his three-year term on the governing body.

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