Survival from Breast Cancer lower in the UK than other developed Nations

Don’t know if anyone else saw this article published in the British Medical Journal yesterday. There has been a very large scale international survey of people diagnosed with secondary BC between 2000 and 2007, and they have discovered that patients here are treated much less aggressively than other developed Countries (Germany, Sweden, Australia etc), and as a result survival is lower.
Link to article below.

Bumping so that post appears

I saw that. scary.

Yes Vercors it is very scary.
The research showed that Oncologists in the UK are not treating cancer aggressively as other developed countries, and we should be asking why. I suspect a lot of this is due to the fact that the medical profession are being overwhelmed by the number of patients they are now expected to treat, and by organisations such as NICE, limiting the treatments they can use.

For examplle, in London, St Mary’s Hospital recently closed it’s chemo unit and transferred patients to Charing Cross Hospital - and staff just had to cope with this without any increase in staffing . Now there is talk that the chemo unit in Charing Cross may close, and patients will be transferred to The Royal Marsden. How on earth will the Royal Marsden cope, given that they are already dealing with the patients of Hospitals all around the Country who cannot cope? For example the Marsden recently had to treat RT patients from Brighton Hospital when it’s RT department was understaffed and unable to provide RT for all it’s patients).

Franky the situation is grim, and all the Government seem to want to do is privatise the NHS by the back door. Not one person on this site has commented on the fact that the Government are attempting to force the new commissioning groups (CCG’s) to ensure that at least 40% of tenders come from the prvate sector. How is this going to help cancer patients?. The private sector does things for profit, not public good, and won’t be interested in providing Cancer services because it’s costly and unprofitable, So after these companies have creamed off all the profitable areas of medicine, where will theat leave cancer patients? ?Probably with a skeleton service, with even fewer resourves.

I wish the british public would start junping up and down, but nobody seems interested. VEry depressing.

As usual, you are formidably well informed. Your report is indeed alarming. I have noticed understaffing everywhere I have gone for treatment with dedicated personnel going above and beyond to look after us, at the same time pointing out where the system is letting us all down.
We aren’t the glamourous end of medicine, are we, with precious few ‘quick wins’ that look good in productivity stats. But we deserve the best treatment on a par with other developed countries.
My energy levels aren’t what they used to be as far as jumping up and down in protest is concerned. Where would you start?
PS I hope all went well yesterday. I will PM you about 25 March.

Thank you Susan.
Well there are things patients can do without having to jump up and down. For example, in my area (Sussex). cancer services receive much less funding than other areas (cancer receives less money than mental health services). As a result of this I have joined various NHS groups that influencecancer services and funding.
The first group I joined was the NHS Sussex Cancer Network, which represents cancer patients and their carers, and carries out/ initiates and evaluates various research projects on cancer services in the area.
The second group I joined was the Sussex and Surrey NHS procurement group (as a patient/lay member). The background to this group is that after Sussex and Surrey PCT’s formed into NHS Sussex and Surrey. the former PCT’s set up an advisory group to the new CCG’s
The third group I joined was my GP patient group. When I joined I offered to represent my surgery at the new CCG, as a lay member, so when the CCG’s take over commissioning for my local area in April, I will be involved.
The fourth thing I have done is to team up with others to start a charity called the UKCK Network, which launched last July, and now raises awareness of stereotactic radiotherapy such as Cyberknife, and allows patients to receive advice from medical experts in the field .
Obviously one person on their own cannot influence funding, but if other cancer patients get involved with these organisations then steadily our interests will be heard.

Hi lemongrove, thank you for posting the article and raising awareness. I think the complicated system and jargon surrounding the nhs and commissioning etc makes it hard for people to easily see the reality of what is going on with the structure, although we do all see the public face where services are going downhill. Thank you for taking the time to explain it in user friendly language as it really does help us to see the issues. I hope it makes people act. At the moment i am embroiled in running my facebook supoort group for younger women diagnosed with breast cancer. Its in its early days but as well as supporting each other, it is also an excellent way to raise awareness. At the moment i am focussing on an awareness campaign later in the year that younger women can and do get breast cancer and so we should check and people (ie. The medical profession) should take us seriously, and I’m mulling over the research saying that breast cancer in younger women can be a different animal to that found in older women, and the research that more younger are presenting with distant spread from the outset at initial diagnosis. Should there be different treatment/investigation paths then for younger women who often buck the statistics of a ‘good’ prognosis because of the specific features of younger cancers? With the cutbacks and lack of priority given to cancer services, it will be a hard one to convince them of, but it’s no wonder the survival rates are higher elsewhere as I know , for example, scans for younger women are much more readily available elsewhere than in the UK, and my question is that if youth is a determining factor on giving us chemo then should it not be a determining factor on giving scans etc? I’m only writing about younger women cos that’s my current area of action and expertise, not because I’m not bothered about breast cancer in ladies who have reached screening age, because I most definitely am still bothered about best practice for finding and treating breast cancer in everybody! We have nearly 300 women in the YBCN (UK) group now, and it’s growing every single day. I think our group must be one of the buggest collections of younger women with BC in the UK, and possibly Europe given the number of enquiries we get from further afield to join us. A recent status update I did for our YBCN public page has been seen by over 8000 people in 2 days, and im not saying that to show off (!), it important as hopefully it will stand us in good stead for any future campaigns. Sorry, I’ve diverted from the point in issue, I just want you to know you are appreciated and that there are other people out there trying to do their bit who are grateful for you doing yours, and that we may be well placed at a future point to help more on these issues. I hope you are in relatively good health,I’ll keep an eye out for your posts as always,

vickie xxxX

I think it’s the same throughout the NHS. I work in mental health and services are already stretched to breaking point before the major staff losses which were scheduled for Sept 2014 and have been brought forward to this year.
I have friends who work in community services in the NHS and in hospitals and it’s the same story everywhere.
It feels very sad to see the NHS on it’s knees and there must surely be a point at which practice becomes unsafe.
Unison are organising some protests around the UK on March 17th/18th - one is at North Walsham where Alan Lamb’s office is based. I hope to be there.
Good for you Lemongrove - I hope I can get more involved at some point in the future. I believe passionately in the ethos of the NHS.
Vickie, you are doing a FABULOUS job! I have heard lots of good things about the FB site. I’m too old to use it myself at 48 and post menopausal though!

Vickie and Susie. Thanks for posting and really good to hear about what you are doing. If we all did something (even just write letters to MP’s), things would improve.
Vickie would you put a link on your FB page to my petition asking the Govt to make funding available for all patients who require CK RT? We have about 3,500 signatures but need many more. PM if possible

Hi lemongrove, I presume you mean radio therepy when you say the royal sussex hospital are having to send patients to London as they are so busy. That is worrying as I live in Brighton. I dont need R.T. but if I do hope im not sent to london if i need it in the future,. Had it once when my sec. cancer was diagnosed in 2011. No problem then and i didnt have to wait… Rest of my treatment has be fantastic. mags

Brighton Belle, I did say in my post that the Royal Marsden had to provide RT when the RT Department at Brighton Hospital had staffing problems. I believe the RT backlog at Brighton has now been sorted (although someone told me that patients from Worthing are having to travel as far as Hampshire to get RT).
I’m glad that you think the treatment you have receivd at Brighton has been good, but I think you will find that cancer services are poorly funded in Sussex (less is spent on cancer than on mental health services). Also the Princess Royal in Haywards Heath was recently identified as one of seventeen hospitals in England and Wales with dangerously low levels of staff.

thanks lemongrass, bit worrying where do you get info from? Where in sussex are you?

Enjoyed reading everyones comments, its nice to know there are lots of us with secs, Can anyone confirm everolimus is or isnt chemo many thanks mags x

Brighton Belle, I live in mid sussex. The article about survival being lower in the UK appeared in the Britih Medical Journal on the 1st March 2013, and I provided a link to that when I started this thread.
I am also a member of NHS Sussex Cancer Network, so a lot of my information is obtained from the NHS.
There are a few people with secondary BC in Sussex, and we meet up for lunch every now and then. If you would like to join us, plese pm JulieD, and she will tell you when we next meet.