Where you live may reflect how likely you are to survive cancer, according to official government data.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that there are “wide geographic disparities” in survival rates for patients in England for many common cancers.
Patients in parts of London and some of the Home Counties are likely to survive for a longer period of time than those living in more rural areas.
For example, in north-west London, 49 per cent of women and 47 per cent of men diagnosed with stomach cancer survived for at least one year. This compares with just 29 per cent of women in Avon, Somerset and Wiltshire, and 29 per cent of men in Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire and south Worcestershire.
In north London, 76 per cent of women diagnosed with bladder cancer survived for one year, compared with 59 per cent in Kent and Medway.
And in south Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, 83 per cent of men lived for 12 months after bladder cancer diagnosis, compared with 74 per cent in south Yorkshire, north Derbyshire and Bassetlaw and Essex.
Lung cancer patients in north-west London had the best one year survival rate, with 37 per cent of women and 32 per cent of men surviving for a year. In south Cumbria and Lancashire this fell to 24 per cent of women and 22 per cent of men.
Experts say that poor one year survival rates suggest late detection of the disease. The patient may not have visited the doctor about their symptoms, or GPs had not spotted signs of cancer.
Researchers say that because poorer people are less likely to seek early help, survival rates across the country mirror levels of deprivation.
Professor Jane Maher, chief medical officer for charity Macmillan Cancer Support said: “When survival is worse in rural areas, it can be because they have populations who are older and more likely to worry about ‘bothering the doctor.’”
But despite country-wide variations, cancer survival rates did increase overall.
Anna Soubry, public health minister said: “It’s encouraging that cancer survival rates are improving, but we need to go further to close the gap between England and the best in the world, and there is also unacceptable variation across the country.”
If you want access to private cancer treatment, look for a medical insurance policy with comprehensive cancer cover.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2013