What! I though having a national health care system would make health care equally accessable to all and hence improve things for all? What? The lower socio-economic patient is more likely to be “unaware, over weight and smoke.” And finally, ” the government needs to do more to improve the “uptake of screening and treatment options?” I guess once we have national health care there will be another department to make sure that certain populations of our society actually use it…another department….who will be blame then? Individual responsibility….that’s not fair…the government needs to do more…..
Worse cancer outcomes in deprived UK areas highlighted
More than 2,600 deaths in England from some of the most common types of cancer could be avoided each
year if all cancer patients had the same chance of survival as the most
affluent section of society, a new piece of research suggests.
The study, presented at the National Cancer Intelligence Network conference
in London, found that the most well- off patients enjoyed a higher survival rate
than the poorest patients.
Over 2,600 deaths from 14 of the most common forms of cancer could be avoided
each year in England in the five years after diagnosis if all patients had the
same chance of survival regardless of their economic background.
The difference in survival between the richest patients and the poorest was
the widest in the month after diagnosis.
Researchers from King’s College London suggested that more cancer patients
from deprived backgrounds were diagnosed when the disease was at a late stage
and often harder to treat – leading to the differences in survival.
This variation in survival could be due to many reasons – poorer people may
be delaying seeing their doctor about worrying symptoms or they may be less
likely to go for screening.
Not surprisingly, the greatest numbers of avoidable deaths were from breast,
lung, bowel and prostate cancers –
the four most common cancers in the UK.
The results showed that the number of deaths each year for breast cancer
could be reduced by around 490, by 330 for lung cancer, around 690 for bowel
cancer and around 330 for prostate cancer.
Margreet Lüchtenborg, lead author of the study based at King’s College
London, said: “This study shows that deprivation leads to inequality in survival
for the most common cancers in England, especially in the month immediately
“This could be because poor patients are more likely to be diagnosed with a
late stage cancer.”
The study looked at more than 1.5 million cancer patients in England
diagnosed with 14 of the most common cancer types between 1999 and 2007 and
analysed survival from 2004 to 2007 for five different groups based on measures
Chris Carrigan, head of the NCIN, said: “This study once again stresses the
urgent need to improve the health of people living in deprived areas and to make
sure all cancer patients have an equal chance of surviving their cancer.
“Deprivation is one of the biggest causes of cancer inequality in this
country. We know that people from more deprived areas are more likely to smoke
or be very overweight. They are also less likely to be aware of signs and
symptoms of cancer, probably leading to later diagnosis, which may further
increase their chances of dying from their disease.
“We need to take a close look at factors like late diagnosis, uptake of
screening and variations in treatment for people from different social and
economic backgrounds if we are to reduce inequality in cancer survival.
“But in the meantime everyone can do their bit by giving up smoking, eating
sensibly and seeing a GP as soon as possible if they notice anything
Study: Lüchtenborg, M et al, – Impact of Socio-Economic
Deprivation on Cancer Survival in England (2011)