Belfast Telegraph

Cancer survival rates improving

Cancer survival rates in Northern Ireland are improving, research has found.

Records for those suffering from breast, lung and colorectal cancers have improved from 1995 to 2007 and rates are better than the rest of the UK.

Despite this, in some cases survival rates in the UK countries were more than 10% lower than those elsewhere in Europe, Australia and Canada.

Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said: "This is good news for cancer patients. Our survival rates are better than the rest of the UK.

"We are continuing to work to improve our survival rates for all cancers to meet the rates found in Australia, Canada and Scandinavia.

"I am encouraged that survival for patients with the breast, lung and colorectal cancers looked at in this report have improved in Northern Ireland from 1995 to 2007."

Age standardised relative survival rates at five years for colorectal, lung, ovarian and breast cancer have been consistently higher than for England and Wales over the period 1995 to 2007.

However, survival is persistently higher in Australia, Canada and Sweden, particularly in the first year after diagnosis and for patients aged 65 and older.

While the range of international differences narrowed for breast cancer over the period, this was less apparent for the other cancer sites with the international survival range for colorectal cancer only narrowing for patients aged 65 and over.

The patterns in survival differences are consistent with late diagnosis and/or treatment, particularly in the UK and Denmark.

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