§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research he has commissioned on cancer survival rates in the United Kingdom compared with other EU countries. 
§ Ruth Kelly
[holding answer 27 October 2003]: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.
Letter from Colin Mowl to Mr. Jim Cunningham, dated 17 November 2003:
The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question concerning what research the Chancellor of the Exchequer has commissioned on cancer survival rates in the United Kingdom compared with other EU countries. I am replying in his absence. (133894)
Comparable statistics on cancer survival in the UK and most other EU countries have been produced in three studies funded by the European Commission (the EUROCARE studies). Cancer registries in the UK, including staff from the National Registry at ONS, have been involved in these studies since they began in 1989.
The results indicated that survival was generally highest in Sweden, the Netherlands, France and Switzerland, and lowest in Estonia, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. Survival in the UK and Denmark was lower than in other western European countries for common tumours such as those of lung, breast, stomach, large bowel, prostate and kidney. However, international differences in survival were not large for tumours amenable to cytotoxic therapy, such as testicular cancer and Hodgkin's disease.
Government plans for funding cancer research were published in the NHS Cancer Plan in September 2000; copies of which are available in the Library. The Plan acknowledged that "survival rates for many of the major cancers lag behind the rest of Europe".