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Women face ‘postcode lottery’ in ovarian cancer diagnosis

Only one in 10 cases are diagnosed at their earliest stage in some regions

Survival rates for women with ovarian cancer are twice as high in some parts of the country than others, a report has found.

The research by Public Health England and cancer charities reveals that in some parts of the country just one in 10 cases are diagnosed at their earliest stage, which health services in other areas achieve almost half of the time.

The highest survival rates are in South East London, where half of women were alive five years after diagnosis. In Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight, the figure was just 28.7%, the Telegraph reports.

Whereas 47.9% of diagnoses in Islington were achieved at the earliest stage of the disease, the figure was just 10% in East Surrey. 

Annwen Jones, chief executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, said a number of factors affect speed of diagnosis, including how quickly women saw their GP, time waiting to be referred, and waits for tests and treatment. 

Cary Wakefield, chief executive of Ovarian Cancer Action, added: “Diagnosing ovarian cancer at the earliest stages is crucial, but sadly as we gather data it is clear that a postcode lottery exists around the country, with some areas diagnosing significantly more patients early than others.” 

A spokesperson for the NHS said the chances of surviving cancer are better than ever before and the NHS Long Term Plan is ramping up action across the country to detect more cancers at an earlier stage.