Early diagnosis paramount in cancer battle
It’s nothing new that early diagnosis of any illness increases the chances of survival and recovery. But new analysis from Cancer Research UK has found that cancer patients who are diagnosed early are three times more likely to survive than those who get their results at a later stage. The charity found that 80 per cent of patients who suffer from one of the eight most common cancers live for a minimum of ten years if they are diagnosed in the early stages. Of those who are diagnosed later, only 25 per cent achieve the same length of time. This is because in the latter stages, cancer can spread to other parts of the body and become increasingly difficult to fight.
Researchers at Cancer Research UK looked at the survival rates for breast, cervical, bladder, bowel, womb, skin, ovarian and testicular cancers to get the latest findings. These cancers account for 40 per cent of all cases in Britain.
Patients at stage 1, where the cancer is confined to one organ, had the highest number of ten-year survival rates at 90 per cent. Stage 2 is when the cancer has spread to small areas of tissue near the original organ while stage 3 occurs when it has progressed to the lymph nodes in the armpits or stomach. Stage 4, when the cancer has spread to the bones, liver, brain, lungs or other organs, had the worst ten-year survival rates at just five per cent.
“These figures show the prize on offer if we can diagnose more cancers earlier,” said Sara Hiom, of Cancer Research UK.
However it was recently revealed that Britain’s cancer survival rates are significantly lower than other Western countries, with late diagnosis to blame.
As well as patients not seeking help quickly enough when they suspect something is wrong, experts believe GPs are also partially to blame for missing certain ambiguous symptoms.