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Poorer cancer patients a third less likely to survive long term



Cancer patients in England are 33% less likely to be alive five to ten years after diagnosis if they are from the most deprived areas than the least,(1) according to new research by Macmillan Cancer Support and the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN).(2)
This research, being presented at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) conference in Liverpool today, reveals for the very first time how the proportion of people living with and beyond cancer varies according to socio-economic deprivation.
The number of cancer survivors diagnosed in the last decade in the most affluent areas of England (250,000) substantially outweighs the number of those in the poorest (170,000). This is despite the fact that the rate of cancer diagnosis is higher in deprived areas.(3)
Furthermore, the gap between the most and least deprived groups increases over time. People alive up to one year after diagnosis are 30% more likely to come from the least deprived areas than the most. Among those diagnosed five to ten years previously, this rises to 57%.(4)
Almost a quarter (23%) of those who survive more than five years and up to ten years after being diagnosed with cancer are amongst the wealthiest members of the population, while the poorest account for just one in seven (15%).
The reasons for these differences need to be explored further, however some important factors could be: how advanced the disease was when it was diagnosed,(5) awareness of signs and symptoms and willingness to visit their GP.
Mike Hobday, Director of Policy and Research at Macmillan Cancer Support, says: “It is simply unacceptable in this day and age that your chances of surviving cancer depends on whether you live in an affluent area or not. Cancer patients must not be penalised for coming from a deprived part of the country.
“Everyone with cancer deserves the best possible chance of recovery, regardless of how much money they have or where they live. A cancer recovery package after treatment and access to specialist services to help people deal with the long-term consequences of treatment would go a long way to improving aftercare for all.”
Di Riley, Acting Head of NCIN, says: “Public Health England’s National Cancer Intelligence Network is committed to contributing to these findings by increasing the availability of timely and accurate data on all people with cancer.”
No one should face cancer alone. The Macmillan team is here to support cancer survivors every step of the way. For more information visit or call 0808 808 00 00.
  1. Of all those people diagnosed with cancer between 2001-2005 (corresponding to those in the 5-10 years since diagnosis category) those in the least deprived quintile were more likely to have survived – with 41% still alive at the end of 2010, compared to 27% for the most deprived quintile. This deprivation study is based on people diagnosed with cancer in the ten year period of 2001 and 2010 and is based on the residence of these people at the time at diagnosis. The deprivation is measured in quintiles. Our study compares the 20% least deprived (most affluent) to the 20% most deprived (least affluent). This analysis uses the National Cancer Data Repository (NCIN, Public Health England) and the income domain of the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2004 (Department of Communities and Local Government, accessed October 2013). The research is being presented at the NCRI Conference today and a summary is available here.
  2. Macmillan and the NCIN are working in partnership to develop robust data analysis and insight, which increases our understanding of the UK cancer survivorship population and helps make personalised care a reality. Find out more about our work here.
  3. Cancer Incidence by Deprivation England (1995-2004) NCIN (accessed October 2013)
  4. 32,400 people from the most deprived quintile are alive one year after diagnosis compared with 41,900 people from the least deprived quintile. 5-10 years after diagnosis 59,800 people from the most deprived quintile are still alive compared with 93,800 people from the least deprived quintile.
  5. NCIN (2013) Routes to Diagnosis: Exploring Emergency Presentations (accessed October 2013)

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