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UK cancer deaths “worse than 13 other countries in Europe”

21 November 2008

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Cancer deaths in England, Scotland and Wales are significantly higher that most other European countries, according to a Eurocare study.

Five-year survival rates for lung, breast, prostate and colorectal cancer show that 11,000 more people die in the UK than in 13 other EU countries.

These are Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Researchers worked out that 6,535 lives a year might be saved if survival rates were as good as the European average, using data for patients diagnosed between 1995 and 1999.

If rates in the UK were as good as the best in Europe, this would add up to 10,774 fewer deaths from cancer each year, they said.

The breakdown showed that 1,087 deaths from breast cancer would be avoided in Great Britain if it matched the European average, while 1,492 could be saved if Great Britain matched the highest European survival rates.

With colorectal cancer, 1,090 lives could be saved if Great Britain met the European average and 1,687 could be saved if it matched the highest. With lung cancer, the figures were 996 and 1,324 respectively.

Copyright © Press Association 2008