The Eurocare study, published in the European Journal of Cancer has made a crucial observation, reporting Britain having the worst cancer survival rate in western Europe.
The survival percentage in England is 50.2 per cent according to the latest Europe-wide statistics available, covering those diagnosed up to 2007.
In comparison, countries such as France, Italy, and Germany all did far better than Britain.
As a part of the study, several patients were examined for survival for all common cancers.
What’s more alarming is the fact that despite investment in attempts to diagnose cases earlier and speed up access to treatment, there has been no narrowing of the gap between Britain and other developed nations.
On the contrary, experts have said that the major differences reflected poor rates of early diagnosis in this country, with one in five cancers not spotted until a patient arrives at Accident and Emergency departments.
The study of over 20 million cancer patients found survival in Britain is worse than every country in western Europe, The Telegraph reported.
The report, presented to the European Cancer Congress in Vienna, compared overall survival across a host of different types of cancers.
Lead researcher Milena Sant said delays in referrals in the UK were a major cause of late diagnosis, impacting survival.
Rosie Loftus, joint chief medical officer at Macmillan Cancer Support said, “It is disappointing that Britain’s survival rates continue to lag behind the rest of Europe.
“The reasons for this are complex but it is vital people know the signs and symptoms so that cancer can be caught early on and treated effectively.”