In the last 40 years, cancer survival in the UK has doubled. The survival rate varies by cancer type, ranging from 98% for testicular cancer to just 1% for pancreatic cancer. Survival varies not only among cancer types. Several types of cancer also have different survival rates between countries.
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to differences in cancer survival rates across countries, including late-stage diagnosis and access to the most effective treatment. International variation in cancer outcomes can also be explained by differences in policy between countries, but evidence has been difficult to find to support this claim.
The International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP) has discovered a link between cancer policy consistency over time and cancer survival (stomach, colon, rectal, pancreatic, lung and ovarian cancer) for the first time.
International variation in cancer survival has been reported by the ICBP for over 10 years, giving insight into how the UK compares globally.
This partnership, hosted by Cancer Research UK, examines what factors cause differences in cancer survival so that policy and practice can be changed and patients can benefit.
Across high-income countries, the study examined cancer policy evolution over the last two decades to develop an index of policy consistency over time. The researchers then compared this with previous data on oesophageal, stomach, colon, rectal, pancreatic, lung, and ovarian cancer survival.
Cancer survival rates improved most in countries with consistent cancer policies. A critical element of the best improvements was robust implementation and funding plans.
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