Lung cancer survival rate in Wales below European average

The survival rate among Welsh lung cancer sufferers is much lower than in the rest of Europe.

Lung cancer is responsible for 22 per cent of all deaths from cancer with 1,894 deaths in 2012 as statistics released today by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit (WCISU) show. Deaths from lung cancer are ahead of those from other common cancers such as bowel, breast and prostate, and were more than that of bowel and breast combined.

Liver, lung, pancreatic are the three types of cancer with the lowest five year survival chances in Wales. The latest available figures reveal that the survival is below four per cent for pancreatic cancer, and under seven per cent for lung cancer and liver cancer, which is far behind the European average of 13 per cent as a study on cancer survival rates in Europe from 1997 to 2007 shows. This study also indicates that the Austria achieves 16.7 per cent in lung cancer survival, Germany reaches 15.6 per cent, and France, 13.8 per cent.

Professor Alan Clarke, the director of the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute and the Cardiff Cancer Research UK centre, said that the comparatively low lung cancer survival in Wales could be caused by numbers of factors. “It could be influenced by stage of diagnoses, capacity of the National Health Service (NHS) to deal with the lung cancer patients, the availability of current next generation medicines and more targeted therapies which may be limited by availability through local clinical trials.”

The report states that the number of lung cancer cases increased by over a third in women while remained similar in men during 2003 to 2012. Meanwhile, the frequency of cancer per 100,000 men has seen a decline from nearly 70 to less than 60. The combined rate of both sexes is now flat-lining with around 50 incidences per 100,000 population. While in Europe, lung cancer incidence rate for male hit 15.9 per cent and 7.4 per cent for female in 2012.

Smoking, along with air pollution are deemed the main risks for lung cancer as the report indicates. Professor Clarke said, “Reducing the rate of smoking can be helpful to decrease the deaths from lung cancer, and that is maybe the most crucial thing to do. It is also important to make people more aware of the early symptoms, so that they would refer to doctors earlier, and that would also increase the effectivity of therapy.”

British lung foundation Wales

Macmillan cancer support

By Shuyu Guo

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