Nearly three quarters of people in Norfolk and Waveney survive a year after cancer diagnosis
- Credit: Kieron Tovell
More and more people in Norfolk are surviving cancer when they are diagnosed with the devastating disease.
Some 72pc of people in Norfolk and Waveney now survive cancer a year after their diagnosis.
In 2001 the highest survival rate was in north Norfolk, where 65.1pc of people survived for at least a year.
But in 2016, the latest data available, south Norfolk had taken the top spot with a rate of 73.8pc.
By 2016 north Norfolk's rate had also risen to 72.4pc.
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In the 15 years measured Great Yarmouth and Waveney was consistently the area with the worst survival rates, at 62.8pc in 2001 and 71.4pc in 2016.
The 2016 rate, along with Norwich's rate for the same year of 71.7pc, plus north Norfolk, were all below the England average of 72.8pc.
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However west Norfolk remained above the national rate, with survivorship rising from 63.1pc in 2001 to 73.1pc in 2016.
Sam Glee, acting director of operations at Norfolk and Waveney cancer charity Big C, said: 'It is extremely positive to see that cancer survival rates in our communities are showing consistent improvement. At Big C we are here to provide emotional and practical support for cancer patients, their loved ones and families throughout their journey. Whilst it is clearly good news, people living longer with and beyond cancer brings new challenges for individuals and their families and we can offer specialist support to help people move forwards with their lives.'
The most dramatic change was in how many people were surviving after a diagnosis of lung cancer.
The specific type of cancer is one of the most common and has been the subject of improvements in the county.
Matt Keeling, cancer services manager at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, added: 'These improvements in cancer survival rates are testament to the hard work of our staff to continually improve the care we give to patients.
'The advances in screening techniques for some cancers, improved diagnostics and raised awareness of the symptoms of many cancers means that in many cases we can detect and treat before the disease advances.
'The NNUH is one of the country's biggest cancer centres, diagnosing about 6,000 patients each year and we are always looking at ways we can improve and expand our services to meet rising demand.
'In recent years we have developed our services to offer robotic-assisted surgery to treat some cancers and we have begun brachytherapy treatment for some patients with prostate cancer.
'The £800,000 Boudicca Breast Cancer Appeal is looking to build a new breast care centre at NNUH where patients can have the necessary images taken, undergo a biopsy and see their consultant in one appointment.'