Havering’s shocking cancer survival rates

Havering has one of the worst cancer survival rates in London – and improvement has come to a standstill.

According to the latest figures, over a third of people in the borough lose their battle with the disease within a year of being diagnosed.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that 64.2 per cent of Havering sufferers survive the first year, compared with the national average of 66.5 per cent.

A spokesman for NHS North East London and the City said: “Based on the evidence available, we believe this is due to local residents with suspicious symptoms seeking help from their GP at a later stage.

“To try and change this, we are actively supporting the national cancer campaigns and have commissioned Age Concern Havering to raise awareness in our worst affected wards.”


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Chances of survival have been growing in recent years, up from just 60 per cent in 1996, but the most recent figure was slightly down on the previous year.

Boroughs with lower rates include Newham, Tower Hamlets, Islington and the bottom borough, Barking and Dagenham.

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Westminster has the best survival rate in the whole of England. In the affluent central borough, 71.7 of sufferers live past the first year.

Lung cancer is particularly fatal, with only 30 per cent of sufferers making it through twelve months after diagnosis.

Sylvia Burwick, from Hornchurch, has been undergoing treatment for the cancer since she was diagnosed in 2008.

She is urging local residents to go to their doctor with any symptoms.

She said: “The damage had already been done for me. I’d advise anyone who smokes to stop, but even if you’re a non smoker, if you think something is wrong, go to your GP early.”

Cancer charity Macmillan tries to inform doctors about early warning signs.

Macmillan Development Manager for North East London Daniel Callanan said a lack of early diagnosis is probably behind the low survival rate in Havering.

He added: “Research shows that early referral and diagnosis can lead to improved survival rates and better quality of life for people affected by cancer.”

To help with Age Concern’s awareness campaign, call Sue McNally on 01708 438931.

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