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Early cancer diagnoses have significant regional variations

Friday 6th November 2015
There is considerable regional variation in early cancer diagnosis.
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    A new study by Cancer Research UK has revealed that occasions of early (stage 1 or 2) diagnoses of cancer vary significantly across the country, effectively meaning patients' chances at beating the disease are different depending on where they live. 

    The organisation has stated that this is "unacceptable", and that more needs to be done to address the issue. This includes encouraging patients to know what's normal for their bodies and speak to their doctor about any changes promptly, as well as improving diagnostic care from medical staff.

    For the study, analysts examined existing data on ten types of cancer across 25 areas of England in 2012 and 2013. They looked at whether it was diagnosed early or late (stage 3 or 4), and found that overall, the south-west of England provided patients with the best chances of an early diagnoses.

    However, the figures also showed that there was inconsistency within the regions. For example, while one region may have strong figures for diagnosing one cancer early, it could perform poorly when it comes to diagnosing another type.

    Sara Hiom, director of early diagnosis at Cancer Research UK, said: "Wherever you live, an early diagnosis of cancer will give you more treatment options and a better chance of survival. So it’s unacceptable to see such variation across England, with some areas falling far behind others in prompt diagnosis of different cancers. The available data indicate widespread problems, with far too many patients being diagnosed later than they should be."

    The news comes ahead of the launch of Cancer Research UK's Early Diagnosis Campaign, which aims to help raise public awareness about the steps they personally can take to help secure an early diagnosis - something that can significantly increase their chances of recovery.

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