Improving cancer survival in England:  Driving for the best


Session type:

Sir Mike Richards1
1National Clinical Director for Cancer and End of Life Care, England, UK


International comparisons undertaken on patients diagnosed in the 1980s and 1990s showed that survival from cancer was poor in the UK countries compared with other developed countries. In this presentation I will discuss:

  • Why cancer survival is an important measure of cancer service delivery
  • Whether survival data for England are reliable, drawing on a recent review of cancer registration undertaken by the Department of Health and Cancer Research UK and recent original research

  • How many deaths might be avoided if cancer survival in England matched the best in Europe

  • Recent data from the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership comparing survival in the UK with that in Australia, Canada, Sweden, Norway and Denmark

  • Likely reasons for poor survival in the UK including low public awareness, late presentation by patients, late onward referral by GPs, inadequate access from primary care to diagnostics and inadequate treatment in secondary care

  • Actions being taken through the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative to promote earlier diagnosis

  • Actions being taken to ensure appropriate treatment is delivered following diagnosis

  • The Government’s level of ambition to save 5000 additional lives by 2014/15

  • How progress on survival can best be monitored