Cancer Taskforce Wants Survival Rates Disparity Highlighted

31 May 2017, 05:36

Breast Cancer Researcher

Scots with the six least survivable cancers have a 55% less chance of living beyond five years compared to others with the disease, new analysis has revealed.

Figures showed those diagnosed with pancreatic, liver, brain, lung, oesophageal or stomach cancer have a 12% chance of surviving for five years or more.

Those with other forms of cancer, however, have a 67% chance on average of living beyond five years.

The disparity was revealed by the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce (LSCT) as it reveals its findings before MSPs at Holyrood.

Five charities have joined forces to transform the future for Scots with the six least survivable cancers to give patients a fair chance of living for longer.

The new analysis shows the six less survivable cancers cause more than half of all deaths (54%) from common cancers in Scotland per year, causing close to 7,000 deaths.

LSCT - which is made up of Pancreatic Cancer UK, the British Liver Trust, The Brain Tumour Charity, Action Against Heartburn and Core - says the unacceptable prognosis is due to a lack of research.

The charities say over the last 12 years the six diseases received just 17% of UK research funding for common cancers, with the remainder dedicated to the 14 more survivable common cancers.

The taskforce hopes to drive forward change and give patients the same chance of surviving as those with the more survivable cancers, which include prostate, breast and bowel cancer.

Motherwell and Wishaw MSP Clare Adamson said: ''It is absolutely disgraceful that in this day and age Scots diagnosed with pancreatic, liver, brain, lung, oesophageal or stomach cancer still have only a 12% chance on average of living beyond five years.

''In the last 40 years, the five-year survival rate has almost doubled for breast cancer and tripled for prostate cancer.

''Yet in the same period, there has been precious little progress for people with these six less survivable cancers.''

The LSCT is calling on MSPs, policy-makers, research funders, GPs, nurses and other healthcare professionals to raise awareness of the cancers .

The group want to ensure patients have access to new treatments and clinical trials as well as receiving treatments swiftly.

They have also called for the setting of government-backed targets to improve survival rates and an increasing in research funding applications from scientists.

Ms Adamson added: ''We must look to the breast cancer and prostate cancer movements and emulate their incredible successes in increasing research funding and improving diagnosis and treatment.

''I believe we must all support the taskforce and play our part in creating a fairer chance of survival for patients with these six diseases.''