Faster diagnosis needed to beat most deadly cancers

1 min read

Brain Tumour Research is supportive of the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce (LSCT) which is today calling for focus, prioritisation and investment in order to speed up the detection and diagnosis of the UK’s deadliest cancers.

The LSCT represents six less survivable cancers, lung, liver, brain, oesophageal, pancreatic and stomach, with an average five-year survival rate of just 16% due to a legacy of neglect and underfunding. Together, these ‘less survivable cancers’ make up half of all common cancer deaths in the UK.

Today’s report from the LSCT highlights overwhelming evidence that late diagnosis of cancer leads to poorer outcomes and that less survivable cancers are far more likely to be diagnosed at a late stage. Around one third of patients with a less survivable cancer will only be diagnosed after an emergency admission to hospital. This delay accounts, in part, for the catastrophic prognoses for thousands of people each year.

The report explains that the reasons for later diagnosis are varied but a significant factor is that symptoms of less survivable cancers tend to be non-specific and most of the general public are unaware of them. For brain tumours two of the most common symptoms are headaches and nausea. This ambiguity often means that patients delay seeking medical help.

In addition to this, research has shown that the COVID-19 pandemic has further delayed the diagnosis of all cancers and exacerbated an already dire situation.

The report makes a number of recommendations to close the deadly gap on cancer inequality and can be accessed here.

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