Delayed diagnosis in the spotlight

Delayed diagnoses are contributing to a lower cancer survival rate in the UK than other high-income countries.

A recent report by The Lancet has investigated cancer survival rates in 7 countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and the UK. The data refers to 7 different sites of cancer: oesophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, pancreas, lung and ovary. The data refers to diagnoses made between 1995 and 2014.

The report found that whilst survival rates had increased for all the countries included in the study, some had done better than others.
Cancer targets in the UK are still being missed which means there are delays in diagnosis of cancer. The target is for 85% of patients to receive treatment within 62 days of an urgent GP referrals, where cancer is suspected. You can check how your local hospital is performing against the NHS cancer target using our NHS performance tracker.

The UK is lagging behind the countries in the study, being the worst performing for stomach, colon, rectal, pancreatic and lung cancers.

Current five-year survival rates for stomach cancer in the UK are 20.8% while the top performing from the reported countries, is Australia, with a survival rate of 32.8%.

Five-year survival rates of cancer in the UK

UK cancer survival rates 1995 to 2014

Pancreatic cancer is still the cancer with the lowest five-year survival rate with the UK at 7.9% with the highest rate at 14.6% in Australia.

John Butler, consultant surgeon at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London and Cancer Research UK’s clinical adviser said “Over the last 20 years we’ve seen improvements in cancer planning, development of national cancer strategies and the rollout of new diagnostic and treatment services.

“For lung, ovarian, and oesophageal cancer in particular, survival has increased largely because the quality of surgery has radically improved, and more surgery is taking place than before.

More people are being looked after by specialist teams, rather than surgeons who aren’t experts in that area.”

Despite the improvement in survival rates over the last 20 years, there are still instances of cancer being diagnosed as something else.

If you believe your medical care has been compromised, then you may have a reason to make a delayed diagnosis claim. A specialist medical negligence solicitor can help you make a delay in diagnosis claim and help you to receive the compensation you deserve.

Get expert legal advice

Call today and speak to Zoe Diss, specialist medical negligence solicitor. Find out if you could claim compensation.

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