Cancer in the UK 2014: state of the nation report – Macmillan – 2 May 2014
” Macmillan Cancer Support’s first ever state-of-the-nation report on the issues that matter most to cancer patients reveals that tens of thousands of UK cancer patients are diagnosed too late, shown a lack of compassion, or denied a ‘good’ death.
Cancer in the UK 2014 shows that one in three (32%) people with cancer die within a year of diagnosis[i], suggesting for many their cancer is diagnosed too late. One in four people with cancer are diagnosed via an emergency admission, and those diagnosed this way are on average twice as likely to die within a year than those diagnosed via an urgent GP referral[ii].
The UK also has the lowest one-year survival rates for four cancer types (colorectal, lung, breast and ovarian) compared with five countries that all have similar health systems and levels of wealth (Australia, Canada, Sweden, Denmark and Norway)[iii].
As well as being diagnosed too late, too many people with cancer are being shown a lack of compassion. While NHS staff deliver exceptional care daily, almost a fifth (19%) of cancer patients felt treated as a ‘set of symptoms’ rather than a person, while one in six (17%) said doctors spoke to them as if they weren’t there[iv]. A major factor for this is unhappy staff. In hospitals where staff experience discrimination and are not valued, cancer patients are 18 times more likely to receive poor care.
Furthermore many people with cancer are also being denied a ‘good’ death. While 73%[v] want to die at home, fewer than a third (30%) are able to do so[vi] and more than half (57%) did not have complete pain relief in the last three months of their lives[vii].
But by 2020 almost half of the population will have a cancer diagnosis in their lifetimes[viii] but our health and social care systems are being too slow to react to the growing number of people getting and surviving cancer.”
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