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Cancer treatment in England lags behind other comparable countries, study finds

Cancer treatment in England lags behind other comparable countries, study finds

It was the Norwegians and Australians who started chemotherapy and radiotherapy as soon as possible.

The UK is lagging behind other similar countries when it comes to cancer treatment, with patients waiting longer to start chemotherapy, according to two new studies.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 780,000 cancer patients in Australia, Canada, Norway and the United Kingdom.

Cancer patients in the UK received less chemotherapy and radiotherapy than the other three countries, with older patients less likely to receive this treatment.

The results were published in two articles in The Lancet Oncology journal.

“In countries with lower cancer survival than countries like the UK, there are higher criteria, higher rates of diagnosed cancer patients being admitted to emergency hospital, relatively lower capacity for specialist diagnosis and, as we now learn, lower use of radiotherapy and chemotherapy,” said the study's lead author and professor at University College London. Georgios Liratsopoulos said.

“Improving cancer survival is complex and requires action at many levels, including the delivery of clinical services. To improve cancer outcomes in the UK, we need to continue to study what accounts for international variations in treatments,” he added.

The study comes as experts predict the number of new cancers worldwide will increase by 55 percent by 2045. Cancer cases in Europe are expected to increase by 22.5 percent over the same period.

“Time is of the essence”

In the UK, patients face long waits to start treatment, with the longest waiting days for chemotherapy in England and the longest waiting days in Scotland.

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Cancer patients in Norway and Australia started radiotherapy and chemotherapy as soon as possible, the authors said.

The research articles focused on eight cancers: oesophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, lung and uterus. They found variations in treatment depending on the type of cancer.

A limitation of the studies is that the most recent study year was 2017, which “may not reflect” current use of radiation and chemotherapy, the authors said.

“All cancer patients, wherever they live, deserve the highest quality care, but this research shows that UK patients are undertreated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy compared to comparable countries,” said Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK. In a statement.

“When it comes to cancer treatment, time is of the essence. Behind these figures people are eagerly waiting to start treatment, which is vital to increase their chances of survival,” he added, urging the UK government to reverse the trends found in the study.