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Cancer survival rates lower in UK’s poorest areas

5 September 2008

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Residents in some of the most deprived areas in England have less chance of surviving cancer than if they lived in other parts of the country, figures have shown.

People living in poorer areas such as Blackpool, Barnsley, Manchester, Cumbria and County Durham have less chance of being alive five years after diagnosis.

The analysis of people diagnosed between diagnosed 1998 and 2003 found “significantly lower” survival rates for the PCTs serving these regions. There are currently 62 “Spearhead” PCTs of this sort around England.

Overall, one-year and five-year survival rates among men were lower in the Spearhead PCTs for each of the seven cancers examined by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). For women, rates were lower for seven of the nine cancers examined. For cancers of the cervix and ovary, five-year survival was similar in Spearhead PCTs to the rest of England.

The ONS figures showed the biggest differences between Spearhead and other PCTs when it came to cancers of the bladder and rectum.

The five-year survival rate for cancer of the rectum was 4.2% lower for men in Spearhead PCTs (46.6% compared with 50.8% elsewhere). The five-year survival rate for women with cancer of the rectum was 3.6% lower in Spearhead PCTs (50.1% compared with 53.7%).

Meanwhile, the five-year survival rate for bladder cancer was 3.3% lower for men and 4.5% lower for women (57.1% for men compared with 60.4%; and 49.1% for women compared with 53.6%).

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