Worst town in Britain for an early cancer diagnosis

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Frightening statistics reveal that Eastbourne is the worst performing town in the country for diagnosing cancer at an early stage.

The figures were released this week by Public Health England. In Eastbourne and Hastings only just over three out of ten patients are diagnosed at an early stage making the town’s record even worse than so-called ‘deprived’ areas such as Newham and Tower Hamlets.

Save the DGH campaigner Liz Walke said, “This is absolutely shocking and people are dying as a result of this. It is crucial to diagnose cancer early and once again our area gets one of the worst deals in the country!

“It is an absolute disgrace. It’s frightening!”

Sean Duffy, national clinical director for cancer at NHS England, said, “We will be looking very closely at the experimental data on the stage of diagnosis which is an important piece of the jigsaw in understanding the issue. There is clearly huge potential here to save more lives.”

Rob Hustwayte, from clinical commissioning groups in Hastings and Eastbourne, said more needs to be done to improve care for cancer patients in the area.

He said, “The data used in this study is incomplete and its quality varies wildly so we are unable to draw firm conclusions. Public Health England has cautioned against making regional comparisons because the variations mainly reflect different ways of collecting and reporting data rather than actual outcomes for patients.

“In Eastbourne and Hastings there are significant pockets of deprivation and a large proportion of older people – both associated with higher rates of cancer. We are aware that more needs to be done to improve outcomes for cancer patients in the area and this is a priority for both CCGs. In order to improve the screening, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer locally, we are focussing on providing training for clinicians and on raising public awareness to encourage people with symptoms to visit their GP.”

Terminal cancer sufferer Stephen Sutton, 19, whose national campaign has raised £3.2 million said doctors disastrously missed his cancer in the early stages. He said, “On the whole the NHS has been brilliant. But if this could have been caught earlier it could have changed the situation. I was diagnosed with constipation for six months.”

Worst areas

Eastbourne 33.9

Hastings 33.9

Rotherham 34.4

Middlesbrough 35.2

Leeds 35.3

Swale 35.3

Newham 35.6

Tower Hamlets 35.7

Merton 36.0