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Friday 21st October 2016

England lags behind Swedes on lung cancer

29th April 2010

A new study has suggested that people diagnosed with lung cancer in England are much less likely to survive the disease than people living in Scandinavia.

With similar levels of health spending, the findings published in Thorax show that Swedish people have almost double the survival rate after five years with the disease regardless of the age and sex of the patient and how long they were monitored for.

However, the international team led by doctors from King’s College, London and which looked at more than 250,000 patients from England, more than 18,000 from Norway and nearly 25,000 from Sweden, says it remains difficult to establish what the exact reasons are for the differences in survival rates.

Researchers looked at five year survival rates for patients diagnosed with lung cancer between 1996 and 2004.

Long-term survival from all countries was relatively low, with English patients the least likely to survive.

It also emerged that the chances of a lung cancer patient in England dying in the first three months after diagnosis were between 23% and 46% higher than for a patient in Norway and between 56% and 91% higher than for a patient in Sweden.

One of the author’s, cancer specialist Dr Mike Peake, said: “We don’t know exactly why there are these differences, but my feeling is that it is in large part down to delay in diagnosis.”

Cancer Research UK, the Department of Health and the NHS are currently working on an awareness and early diagnosis initiative for cancer.


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