There is a huge variation in cancer survival rates after treatment depending on the fact in which country cancer patients live and to which race patients belong.
Professor Michel Coleman from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine led a team of 100 scientist who examined data from 1.9 million people living in 31 countries in 1990s. Researchers examined the data on cancer survival rates taken from national registries. The study is called CONCORD and it is mainly focused on breast, colon, rectal and prostate cancers.
Researchers found that USA has the best score with 5 years of survival rate for breast cancer at 83.9% and prostate cancer at 91.9%. Japan scores the best for colon cancer at 63% and rectal cancer at 58.2% in men. Women living in France have the highest rates for colon and rectal cancers at 60.1% and 63.9% respectively.
UK reported 69.7% survival rate for breast cancer, 40% for colon and rectal cancers for both for men and women, and 51.1% for prostate cancer. Rates varied significantly for different regions in UK.
Canada and Australia reported significantly high rates for almost all cancers. Poland, Slovenia, Brazil, and Estonia scored about the half of all best scores worldwide. Algeria - an African country, which was the only African country involved in the study - scored the worst for all types of cancers.
US rates also vary significantly depending on region and race: New York City scored the worst, apart from rectal cancer in women, which was the worst in Wyoming, Hawaii scored the best in US for all cancers. Idaho was the best with rectal cancer survival rate, and Seattle was the best with prostate cancer survival rate. White patients were more likely to live longer than black patients with better scores at 7% for prostate cancer and 14% for breast cancer.
Researchers also counted how much money patients spend on health in each country. US spent about 13% of gross domestic product on health products, while Canada, Australia, European nations spent from 9% to 10%. UK residents spent about 7% on health products, and Algeria residents spent 4%.
Researchers suggest that such a huge difference in cancer survival rates depends upon access to health care. Most countries have necessary means to detect cancers and time and provide with proper treatment, but not all patients are able to pay for diagnosis and treatment.