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UK cancer survival rates on the rise but there is still more to be done

Posted: 16/09/2019

A recent analysis by International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP), which is managed by Cancer Research UK, has confirmed that cancer survival in the UK has improved. The analysis is based on data between 1995 and 2014 and looks at oesophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, pancreas, lung and ovary cancer.

The good news is that both one year and five year survival rates have improved in all seven of the above mentioned cancers. However, the analysis included survival rates in other comparable countries to the UK such as Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland and New Zealand and unfortunately the UK ranked near the bottom.

The improvement in the last 20 years is due to a number of factors which include but are not limited to advancements in diagnostic tools and treatment. There has been a huge drive over the last decade to promote cancer prevention and detection with social media playing a considerable part in that. An example is the ‘Smear for Smear’ campaign which helps spread awareness of cervical cancer and the importance of attending regular smear tests. Cervical cancer can actually be prevented if pre-cancerous cells are picked up by a smear test however, the earlier any cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the chances of survival.

The analysis does not comment on why the UK is behind countries like Canada and New Zealand but advancements in treatment and awareness campaigns can only go so far when the NHS is faced with staff shortages and a lack of funding.

Emily Hartland, associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches Cooper, comments: ‘The survival figures are undoubtedly encouraging and certainly show the UK is moving in the right direction. However, we continue to receive regular enquiries and act for a vast number of people whose cancer survival rates have been significantly worsened due to negligent care. This negligent care is usually a form of delay in diagnosis which could be because the patient was not referred for investigations, they were referred but to the wrong specialist or their abnormal test results were not acted upon. We therefore continue to promote and support the various cancer awareness campaigns so that people are more aware of the symptoms to look out for and when these symptoms warrant further investigation.”

Penningtons Manches Cooper’s clinical negligence team is happy to have an informal, no obligation, chat with anyone who has concerns about the care they have received in relation to diagnosis and management of any type of cancer. Please call freephone 0800 328 9545 or email for further information.

To contact Emily Hartland directly, please call 01483 791831 or email

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP