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Friday, 15 March, 2002, 07:50 GMT
UK lagging behind on lung cancer
Lung x-ray
40,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year
The UK has a worse record of treating lung cancer than other European countries, a charity has warned.

The Roy Castle Foundation said British patients were 70% more likely to die within five years of contracting lung cancer than their European counterparts.

many more patients could live for more than five years after diagnosis if early access to good, appropriate treatment was available across the board

Dr Jesme Baird
About 38,000 people contract lung cancer each year in the UK and 94% of these die within five years.

Dr Jesme Baird, director of patient care, said: "Whilst there are some truly excellent centres of cancer care in the UK, many more patients could live for more than five years after diagnosis if early access to good, appropriate treatment was available across the board."

Dr Baird said an improvement in identification, earlier diagnosis and better access to the appropriate services and treatments would enable British survival rates to catch up with European rates.

International discussion

Lung cancer
The most common cancer in the UK
The commonest cause of death from cancer with around 37,000 deaths a year
The third most common cause of death in the UK
Around 80% of patients die within a year of diagnosis
Most cases of lung cancer are related to the use of tobacco
The treatment of lung cancer will be discussed by international experts at a conference in Hong Kong this weekend.

Dr Baird, who will chair the meeting, said: "We feel it's so important to debate the issues surrounding lung cancer care at an international level, to share best practice in an effort to ensure that optimal care and treatment in the UK becomes more widespread."

Dr Mick Peake, lead clinician for lung cancer at the University Hospital of Leicester, said there was a fourfold difference between the best and worst survival rates in different parts of the UK.

He said: "These differences are a result of a number of factors, including a lack of resources and varying approaches to care.

"It is vital to improve and standardise levels of cancer care throughout the UK to save and extend lives, using a multi-disciplinary team approach and centres of best practice as the benchmark."

See also:

15 Feb 02 | Health
Lung cancer patients 'lose out'
06 Dec 01 | Health
Early lung cancer signs 'missed'
12 Jun 01 | Health
Lung cancer drugs approved
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