Cancer diagnosis 'map' published

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen: Health officials have released figures showing patients diagnosed with cancer before they reach the late stages of their disease Health officials have released figures showing patients diagnosed with cancer before they reach the late stages of their disease

People can see how early residents in their region are diagnosed with cancer after health officials published a new map showing the proportion of patients f rom each area who are diagnosed before they reach the late stages of their disease.

When a person is diagnosed with cancer at an earlier stage it means it is easier to treat and the patient has better survival chances.

Public Health England (PHE) have published the data in its Public Health Outcomes Framework map - which shows how well each community in England is performing on a number of health measures including the proportion of people who are overweight, who smoke, the rate of new mothers who breastfeed and hospital admissions for alcohol.

While the map itself is not new, it is the first time that health officials have started to produce data on the stage of cancer diagnoses.

PHE cautioned that the cancer diagnosis stage data is " experiential " and has not yet been completely filled in.

For regions which have supplied the data, it shows the proportion of people with cancers of the breast, prostate, bowel, lung, bladder, ovary and uterus, skin cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients who were diagnosed at stage 1 or 2 of their disease.

Macmillan Cancer Support welcomed the move.

Mike Hobday, director of policy and research at the charity said: " This is the first time we have been able to access this level of information on multiple types of cancer. As more becomes available it will really help us to identify areas for improvement in catching the illness early. This is a great example of how big data will help us save cancer patients' lives.

"There is still a fair way to go before we get the full picture and how this varies by cancer type. All areas of England must be enabled to report the stage at which people are diagnosed with cancer to help identify any pockets where this isn't happening as quickly as others so we can take action to improve.

"If we want to catch up with other European countries' survival rates we must make sure as many people as possible are diagnosed at the earliest possible stage to give them the best chance of surviving. Although these are early figures, it is clear that too many patients are being diagnosed late, when their cancer is already spreading."

Jem Rashbass, director for national disease registration at PHE, said: "PHE has made the data on early diagnosis of cancer available as 'experimental statistics'. They are experimental as they are in the testing phase and are not fully developed because despite considerable progress by many acute providers in England not all cases submitted to the National Cancer Registration Service have a stage recorded.

"PHE continues to work very closely with partners and stakeholders to help improve the completeness of the complex data that underpins staging information. In this initial data release, differences between local authorities are largely determined by differences in data quality."

:: To access the map visit www.phoutcomes.info

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