NCRS Eastern Office mentions in the press and media.
- Awareness could eliminate inequalities in cancer diagnoses
Each year 5,600 patients are diagnosed with cancer at a late stage because of inequalities. Study proves importance of awareness campaigns.
There are substantial inequalities in the stage at which cancer patients receive their diagnosis – a critical factor for cancer survival – a new study by NCRS Eastern Office and the University of Cambridge reveals. The researchers found that age, sex and income as well as the type of cancer influenced the risk of a patient being diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease. Eliminating these inequalities would help improve the chances of a cure for up to 5,600 patients in England with seven common cancers each year. The research was published today in the Annals of Oncology.
Professor Sir Mike Richards, the National Cancer Director, commented “This is a very important study which clearly demonstrates the value of collecting staging data on cancer patients at a population level. It shows that significantly more patients could be diagnosed at an early stage (and thus have better survival) if inequalities by age, gender or deprivation were to be eliminated.”
- Age risk of advanced cancer
OLDER women with breast cancer face a higher risk of being diagnosed with the disease at a late stage, while the risk of an advanced stage diagnosis of lung cancer decreases with age, a new study shows today (Friday).
Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the Eastern Cancer Registration and Information Centre (NCRS Eastern Office) said the study showed that efforts to diagnose cancer early need to be better tailored to different age groups.
The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, used NCRS Eastern Office data on stage – a measure of how advanced the cancer is when diagnosed.
The research aimed to find whether there was a link between age or socio-economic background and being diagnosed with advanced stage cancer.
Researchers looked at around 17,800 women with breast cancer and over 13,200 patients with lung cancer in the east of England who were diagnosed between 2006 and 2009.
They found that compared to women aged 65-69, women aged 70-74 had a 21 per cent increased chance of a late stage breast cancer diagnosis.
The chance of an advanced breast cancer diagnosis became higher as women got older – even accounting for the effect of screening. For example, it was 46 per cent higher in women aged 75-79.
In contrast, it was less likely that older patients would be diagnosed with advanced stage lung cancer than younger patients.
Compared with people aged 65-69, people aged 70-74 were 18 per cent less likely of be diagnosed with late stage lung cancer and this chance decreased further with age – for people aged 75-79 it was 26 per cent lower.
For breast cancer, the study also found that late stage diagnosis was more common in women from deprived backgrounds. For lung cancer, late stage diagnosis was more common in men.
Dr Georgios Lyratzopoulos, study author based at the University of Cambridge, said: “Patient awareness of the signs of breast cancer is known to be lower among older women and this may explain why breast cancer is diagnosed later among this age group.
“But it is puzzling why older patients have a lower risk of advanced stage lung cancer. More research is needed to better understand this pattern.”
The researchers added that the strong likelihood of older women being diagnosed with late stage breast cancer was worrying given that the risk of the disease increases with age.
Dr David Greenberg, study author based at NCRS Eastern Office, said: “Collecting staging data has proved difficult in the past but this data is vital to understanding how to improve the diagnosis of cancer. NCRS Eastern Office has the most complete information on stage. A modernisation programme for cancer registries aims to improve the collection of such information nationwide by end of 2012.”
Sara Hiom, director of information at Cancer Research UK, said: “If cancer is caught early, patients have a better chance of beating the disease as more effective treatment options are available.
“We have made great progress in improving cancer survival rates in the last 40 years. But there is still more work to be done to help more people survive cancer.
Collecting information on stage at diagnosis is vital to do this and we must think how to target messages appropriately to the right audiences.
“Cancer Research UK works to raise symptom awareness, and encourage and enable people to go visit their doctor as soon as they notice anything unusual for their bodies.”
- Cancer Action Newsletter
The new Encore system is reviewed on pages 4 and 5 of the latest Cancer Action Newsletter.
- Intelligence Framework for Cancer, Department of Health
“The process of cancer registration will be revolutionised by the introduction of a unified cancer registration service across England, which will include standardised ways of working by all registration teams, with a new process of centralised management and accountability for all registration staff.”
See also the Press Archive.