Cancer care is deemed inadequate in the U.K following a large-scale report that found inconsistencies in the British health system. More than 8 out of 10 National Health Service (NHS) bodies provide poor cancer care, according to the collated surveys.

Late diagnosis, poor survival rates and delayed treatment underline the need for better cancer care in the UK


Cancer Care: Waiting For Treatment

In the last two years, the target to start treatment within 62 days has been met only once, more than 2,000 cancer patients now waiting longer for treatment.

According to Cancer Research UK, the treatment times were at their worst since they were first recorded in 2010. The poor cancer care has a direct effect on the survival rate of cancer patients in the UK. Last year an international report revealed that the UK has the worst cancer survival rate in Western Europe.

Most of the clinical commissioning groups in charge of cancer care in the UK, either “require improvement” or provide “inadequate” cancer care, The Telegraph writes.

“The fact that so many CCGs in the U.K have been identified as providing inadequate care to cancer patients, or requiring improvements is very concerning. It highlights just how much the NHS is struggling to meet the challenge of delivering cancer services which meet all the critical needs of people with cancer.” says Dr Fran Woodard, executive director of policy and impact at Macmillan Cancer Support.

Urging the Government to put more funding and staff into cancer care, she says “The Cancer Strategy for England clearly shows how the NHS needs to address the significant improvements we all know need to happen urgently.”

Every year 352,197 people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK, according to Cancer Research UK.

Cancer Care: Worst In Western Europe

Cancer recently surpassed heart disease as the number one cause of death in 12 European countries and Australia. The UK was one of these countries, with 161,823 cancer deaths in 2012.

Every year 352,197 people are diagnosed with cancer in the UK, according to Cancer Research UK.

Every year 10,000 lives could have been saved if the cancer was caught earlier. The figures illustrate that the need for early cancer testing and increased diagnostic support is high.

While 63% of patients diagnosed with bowel cancer in Sweden live past ten years, only 54% of people in the UK with the same diagnosis live longer than ten years.“This analysis exposes the harsh reality that because UK cancer survival rates are lagging so far behind the rest of Europe, people are dying needlessly. Frankly, this is shameful.” says Lynda Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Cancer Care: Making Improvements

The NHS is currently looking for a better way to treat cancer patients and admitted that the recent figures are not where they should be.

“We have already established an independent task force to develop a new cancer strategy for the next five years. It will set out how to deliver the vision described in the NHS Five Year Forward View. National Clinical Director for Cancer at NHS England Sean Duffy told the media last year he calls for action on three fronts:

  • better prevention
  • swifter diagnosis better treatment
  • care and aftercare for all those diagnosed with cancer

Being aware of the most common cancer symptoms and getting tested early if you notice that something is wrong is important to ensure that the illness is caught early.

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Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director Dominic Rowley