Inferior quality of care means that women are less likely to survive ovarian cancer in the UK than in other countries, according to a new report.
Researchers from Cancer Research UK’s Cancer Survival Group at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine examined the records of 20,000 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer between 2004 and 2007.
They found that whilst the UK has a similar proportion of women diagnosed with the disease as in Australia, Canada, Denmark and Norway, British women are less likely to survive.
In the UK, 69% of women with ovarian cancer survived for at least one year, compared with 72% in Denmark and between 74% and 75% in Australia, Canada and Norway.
Writing in Gynaecological Oncology, the authors believe the discrepancy could be due to differences in access to treatment or quality of care.
In addition, survival in the UK was lower among women whose cancer was diagnosed at a late stage. For women age 70 and over, the one year survival rate for those with late stage cancer was 35% in the UK compared with 45% in Canada.
UK consultants were worse at recording the stage of the disease at diagnosis.
Lead author Dr Bernard Rachet said: "The results show that the proportion of women with advanced disease is similar to that in other countries, but that survival for women with advanced disease is much lower.
“This suggests that the success of treatment is lower in the UK, and more effort should be made to ensure that UK women with ovarian cancer have the same access to the best treatments."
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "We are working to bring England's survival rates for all cancers up to the level of the best - by investing in earlier diagnosis and ensuring people get the best possible treatment.”
For access to the best cancer treatment that the UK has to offer, consider investing in a health insurance policy with full cancer cover.
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