West Suffolk has been rated top in England for having the best diagnosis rates for cancer at stage one and two.
The area also has the highest one year cancer survival rate in the East of England, at 71.7 per cent compared to a national average of 69.3 per cent.
Latest figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that 60.6 per cent of cancers in the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area are diagnosed at stage one or two. This figure is better than any other CCG in the country, is significantly higher than the national average rate of 45.7 per cent.
There are four stages which determine the extent to which cancer has spread, with stage one being the earliest. By getting diagnosed at an early stage of a cancer’s development patients have a much better chance of survival and recovery.
Dr Andrew Yager, a Botesdale GP and cancer lead for the NHS West Suffolk CCG said: “By working together we are raising awareness of cancer symptoms and encouraging people to get checked out by their GP if they have any concerns.
“The symptoms of cancer can present in different and varied ways such as a cough, or lump or blood in the urine, so it is important to act on any changes in your body by making an appointment to see your family doctor.
“Don’t put it off as the earlier a cancer is diagnosed then the greater the chances of survival.”
This year has also seen the introduction of a new teledermatology service in west Suffolk where a GP takes a high-resolution image of a patient’s skin lesion, which is then sent electronically to a dermatology specialist for diagnosis, with results sometimes received by the patient on the same day.
Dr Paul Molyneux, deputy medical director at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said: “These figures show both the excellent work done by our GPs in being constantly vigilant for signs of early cancer, and also the strong links forged with the West Suffolk Hospital, who see patients with suspected cancer quickly, perform the right tests and get to the right diagnosis as soon as possible.
“Time is so important in making an early cancer diagnosis as it offers the best chance of full recovery after treatment.”