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Cancer survival rates continue to increase

Latest national figures have revealed that cancer survival rates in the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group area are the best in the east of England.

The figures from Public Health England show that the one-year survival rate for patients in west Suffolk diagnosed with cancer is 74.9%, higher than any other CCG area in the east and above the national average of 73.3%.

This one-year cancer survival rate has been increasing every year in west Suffolk and is up from 65.1% in 2002. This is due to the close collaboration of the NHS West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, GPs and partners.

In the NHS North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group areas the one-year cancer survival rates have been raised to 72.8% and 71.8% respectively. This is up on the previous year and, although not quite reaching the national average, represents significant progress on previous years since 2002 when the figures were 63.8% and 65.4%.

Dr Christopher Scrase, Clinical Lead for Cancer for the area’s integrated care system (ICS) and a Macmillan Consultant Clinical Oncologist at Ipswich Hospital said: “It is certainly encouraging to see continued an improvement in cancer survival rates for patients across our system, with west Suffolk being the very best in the region and east Suffolk and north east Essex making good progress.

“The diagnosis and treatment of cancer is complex and there are no easy answers on why survival rates differ, although we do know that cancer survival is generally lower among people from more deprived areas and this is undoubtedly a factor to explain some of the variation across our system.

“We know that a positive outcome is best achieved for the patient if they get a cancer diagnosis at an earlier stage. If patients have any symptoms that concern them they should not hesitate in making an appointment with their GP practice to be assessed. I would also strongly encourage people to take up the opportunity for screening through the national programmes.

“Achieving these cancer survival rates and the further improvements we expect is through collaboration and partnership between commissioners, hospitals, GPs and community health staff who all have an important role in cancer care. Our ICS cancer strategy has set out our wider ambitions of which improved survival is one strand of the improvements we want to bring for our population. ”

Richard Watson, deputy chief executive of the three clinical commissioning groups, said: “It is really pleasing to witness year-on-year improvement to our cancer survival rates along with west Suffolk achieving best in the region status.  Despite this good work there is still a lot more to be done so we can be achieve even higher survival rates and a greater level of consistency. The key to achieving this will be greater levels of partnership working through the integrated care system.

“I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the many dedicated and hardworking staff who contribute so much to the NHS and do their very best for patients.”

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