New statistics reveal stage at diagnosis for key cancer types in Wales

New official statistics developed by Public Health Wales show that melanoma and cancers of the uterus and breast have the highest proportion of cases diagnosed at an early stage.

The data also identify the cancers with the lowest proportion of cases diagnosed at an early stage as those of the liver, pancreas, stomach and lung.

Dyfed Wyn Huws, Director of the Welsh Cancer Intelligence Surveillance Unit said:

“Across Wales, the diagnosis of lung cancer at an early stage has improved, and a higher proportion of prostate cancer cases are now recorded as early stage at diagnosis. At the same time, there has been little change in breast cancer early stage at diagnosis and for all stages of bowel cancer.

“For most cancer types, older people tend to have a higher percentage of stage at cancer diagnosis recorded as unknown, compared to younger people. With the exception of lung cancer, older people also have the lowest level of early stage diagnosis for breast, prostate and bowel cancer.”

Tracey Cooper, Chair of NHS Wales’ Cancer Implementation Group and Chief Executive of Public Health Wales said:

“We know that diagnosing cancer at an early stage of the disease is important in order to improve cancer survival in Wales. These new statistics will help all of us who are working to understand and combat the disease.

“It is encouraging that people from areas with higher deprivation have a similar chance to those from the least deprived areas of having their cancer diagnosed at an early stage for the key common cancers of breast, prostate, bowel and lung.

“However, while our cancer survival outcomes are broadly comparable to those of England, our long term aspiration is to become one of the best in Europe for our patients.”

Chrissie Pickin, Executive Director for Health and Wellbeing at Public Health Wales said:

“We know that up to 4 in 10 cancers are potentially preventable, which is why factors like stopping smoking, reducing alcohol consumption and maintaining a healthy weight reduce the risks.

“We also focus on finding cancer that has developed at an early stage when treatment can be more successful, which is why it is so important to take up the offer when invited to take part in the screening programmes for cancers of the breast, cervix and bowel.”

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