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CANCER survival rates for patients in Wigan Borough have improved, but remain adrift from those for people being treated in other parts of Greater Manchester.

New figures from the Government’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the one-year survival rate for all cancers for people aged between 15 and 99 rose from 65.3 per cent in 2008 to 66.4 per cent in 2009 in the NHS Ashton Leigh and Wigan area.

This means around two-thirds of cancer patients in Wigan Borough survived the year.

The survival rate has climbed each year for a decade, but is still lower than the rate in the rest of the region, with NHS Stockport having a rise of to 69.1 per cent from 67.8 per cent in 2008. The average for England was 66.5 per cent, slightly above Wigan.

The worst survival rate in the country was in Barking and Dagenham, where just 59.8 per cent. Westminster saw the highest survival rate in 2009, with 71.7 per cent of patients surviving the year.

One area where NHSALW haven seen a significant improvement, is in the one year survival rates of cancer patients aged between 75 and 99. The 2009 figure of 54.7 per cent is well above the national average of 53.4 per cent.

Dr Paul Turner, NHS Ashton Leigh and Wigan’s public health consultant, said: “Although the overall picture is good news, locally we still have many cases where people have had symptoms for many months or even years only to present very late in the course of their disease. At that point treatment is much less effective. We, therefore, encourage people who are concerned about symptoms to seek advice from their general practitioner.

“None of this is said to scare people. The aim is in catch cancer early when the treatment is likely to be more successful.

“We, therefore, encourage people who are concerned about symptoms to seek advice from their general practitioner. For example:

•A lump in the breast

•A lump in a testicle

•A longstanding smoker with a cough present most of the time that has been present for over a month (especially if there is blood in the phlegm)

•Bleeding from the bottom

•A change in the appearance of a mole (getting bigger, getting darker or bleeding)