Waltham Forest in top 20 for improved one-year cancer survival rates

Waltham Forest in top 20 for improved one-year cancer survival rates

Waltham Forest is among the top 20 most improved areas in England for people surviving cancer a year after diagnosis. 

In 2012, 67.1% of people diagnosed with all types of cancer lived beyond a year after being found to have the disease, but 2013 saw an increase to 68.7%. 

The improved survival rate follows NHS Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) programme of work to help increase the uptake of free cancer screening programmes and improving access to and quality of cancer services provided.  

Early diagnosis of cancer gives patients more effective treatment options and improves their chances of survival. 

In Waltham Forest, 52.9% of stage 1 and 2 cancers were diagnosed early, a proportion similar to the national average of 54.4% in 2012/13. 

There does however remain a higher than national average rate of patients being diagnosed with cancer through emergency routes in Waltham Forest (24.3% compared to national average of 20.1%) and the borough is performing below the national and regional averages for one year survival for all three ‘age-band’ categories (15-99, 55-64 and 75-99). 

Despite this, the CCG is improving faster than regional and national trends. 

NHS Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group’s Clinical Director for Cancer Dr Mayank Shah said: “This shows improvement in one-year survival rates but cancer is one of the biggest causes of death in Waltham Forest, so we want to improve early diagnosis, and keep improving one-year cancer survival rate. 

“Reducing the number of patients diagnosed at a later stage is crucial for improving the chances of survival.” 

There are three types of cancer screening for adults in England 

  • Cervical screening previously known as a smear test is offered to women aged 25 to 64 which detects abnormal cells on the cervix. Detecting and removing abnormal cervical calls can prevent cervical cancer.
  •  Breast cancer screening offered to women aged 50-70 to detect early signs of breast cancer. Women aged 70 and over can self-refer.
  •  Bowel cancer screening – A home testing kit is offered to men and women aged 60 to 74 which checks for the presence of blood in stool sample, which could be an early sign of bowel cancer.

 Dr Shah continued: “It’s vital people take the opportunity to have the screening tests offered and outside of the screening programme, if you notice any unexpected changes to your body, or if you are concerned, visit your doctor today.” 

Dr Shah and Nuzhat Anjum, Associate Director Strategic Commissioning, accepted a recognition award on behalf of WFCCG at an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer (APPGC) reception on Wednesday 6 July 2016.

Symptoms and signs

People can be diagnosed with cancer through emergency routes for a variety of reasons so it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer.

Visit your doctor if you have any unexplained changes to your body such as:

  • an appearance of a lump
  • coughing, chest pain and breathlessness
  • changes in bowel habits
  • bleeding
  • moles
  • weight loss. 

Find out how to spot the signs and symptoms of cancer by visiting: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer/Pages/Symptoms.aspx