Bowel and lung cancer survival rates campaign

HASTINGS and its surroundings have one of the lowest survival rates for bowel and lung cancer, it has been revealed.

According to latest figures by the Government, nearly 60 per cent of patients suffering from bowel cancer in 2009 survived after a year here in 1066 Country.

But this was less than the national average, which stood at 72.4 per cent and for East Sussex, almost 72 per cent the same year.

For lung cancer the news was not much better, with Hastings and Rother’s one-year survival rate being 23.2 per cent of patients in 2009, compared to the national average of 28.2 per cent, and the county rate being just over 27 per cent.

Because of the low survival rates here in 1066 Country and the rest of East Sussex, local health bosses have launched the Clear on Cancer campaign to help people recognise the early symptoms of bowel and lung cancer, see their GP and get diagnosed earlier.

The current campaign has been aimed at men aged 45 or over, as these two cancers affect this group more commonly.

Dr Timothy Sevitt, consultant clinical oncologist at the Conquest Hospital, said the poor survival rates here were partly due to the high levels of deprivation in some areas of Hastings and St Leonards and late diagnosis.

He said: “Because of this the survival rates are not as good compared to other levels in East Sussex and the south east.

“Mortality rates for lung cancer have certainly improved in the UK but unfortunately it’s heavily linked to smoking.

“We at the Conquest are seeing a lot of people with lung cancer brought on by smoking. It’s sad as lung cancer is easily avoidable.”

Dr Sevitt said there was a national bowel cancer screening programme available at the Conquest for people to take part in.

He added: “Over the last eight months we have been picking up the relatively early stages of bowel cancer so the programme appears to be a success.

“Bowel cancer is hereditary so if you have two or three relatives who have had it there is a strong chance you may get it.”

Some the early symptoms of lung cancer include a cough that does not go away after three weeks, constant chest infections, coughing blood, unexplained persistent breathlessness and persistent pain in the chest and/or shoulder.

Early indicators of bowel cancer include blood in the faeces over a three-week period.