Men's cancer rates above UK average

CANCER rates for men in Suffolk are higher than much of the rest of the country it can be revealed today.Government figures show 553 men per 100,000 had the disease in 2004 compared to a national average of 480.

CANCER rates for men in Suffolk are higher than much of the rest of the country it can be revealed today.

Government figures show 553 men per 100,000 had the disease in 2004 compared to a national average of 480.

However the rate for women in Suffolk was below average, with 418 per 100,000 having cancer, compared to a national average of 454.

The findings come from the Office for National Statistics, released on the political website They Work For You, and relate to 2004, the latest year for which the figures are available.

But Suffolk Primary Care trust said its own figures - over a different period - showed the county's cancer rate matched the national average and that the trust had made progress in treating the disease.

A spokesman said: “We seem to have an anomaly, which we will be checking at the earliest opportunity with the Office for National Statistics.

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“Our figures for 2002-04 show that we are at the national average for cancers in men and women.

“Cancer services are a priority for us and we have made excellent progress in reducing waiting times, which means cancer patients are being seen faster than ever before.

“We are also much more focused on preventing cancer through initiatives, such as our successful smoking cessation service.”

The spokesman also said the trust was consistently hitting targets for a maximum wait of two months for urgent referrals for cancer treatment and a maximum waiting time of one month from diagnosis to treatment.

Last month it emerged that cancer patients in Suffolk are losing out in a postcode lottery of care.

Figures showed huge discrepancies in the amount spent on drugs and treatment to fight the killer disease in different regions of England.

Suffolk was ranked in the bottom 15 per cent for spending per cancer patient, with each sufferer allotted an average of £6,704 a year compared to a national average of £8,437.

But the trust said cancer patients were being seen faster than ever, that there had been advances in the standard of cancer care and that the proportion of its total expenditure on cancer services in the year matched the national average.

The spending figures came from the Department of Health's 2006/07 records.

n. Do you have a story to tell about cancer care in Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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