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Survival rate lottery for lung cancer patients

SURVIVAL rates from lung cancer in Scotland are among the worst in Europe, according to a new report which highlights a postcode lottery in mortality rates.

The report by the UK Lung Cancer Coalition reveals that Scotland ranks 27th out of 29 European countries for its five-year survival rate from lung cancer, with just nine per cent of patients likely to be alive five years on from a diagnosis.

Only Wales and Bulgaria performed worse, while Austria topped the table with the chances of long-term survival almost twice the rate in Scotland.

The pan-European data refers to 1999 to 2007.

Scotland is now the only UK nation where lung cancer is the most common form of the disease

The authors also highlighted significant regional differences in death rates.

In NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the death rate is more than double that of NHS Orkney, at 72 deaths per 100,000 people compared to 30.

Dr Marianne Nicolson, consultant medical oncologist, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, said: "In recent years, the Scottish Government has taken positive steps to tackle the burden of lung cancer. However, despite this activity, outcomes for lung cancer patients in Scotland remain poor compared to the rest of Europe."

The report urges the health service in Scotland to commit to a timeframe for publishing health board by health board statistics.

A Scottish Government spokesman said it was taking "a range of measures" to tackle lung cancer.

He added: "However, there is still more to do to tackle lung cancer and we look forward to continuing to work with the UK Lung Cancer Coalition to improve outcomes for patients with this devastating disease.

"More lives can be saved in Scotland if cancer is detected early."

Contextual targeting label: 
Health

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