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Sweden top for cancer survival in new report

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Sweden top for cancer survival in new report
More people survive cancer in Sweden. Photo: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
08:01 CEST+02:00
If you live in Sweden you are less likely to die of cancer than anywhere else in Europe, according to a major new study.

A study released at the European Cancer Congress in Vienna, described as the largest ever survey of the disease, showed that cancer survival in Sweden continues to be far above that of similar nations.

While survival rates in northern Europe averaged 59.6 percent, Sweden's rate came top at 64.7 percent. It ranked far above the level among its Nordic neighbours, compared to Finland's 61.4 percent, Iceland's 1.2, Norway's 58.6 and Denmark's 50.9.

Among western European countries, Scotland, Wales and England landed at the bottom of the table with survival rates starting from 46.6 percent.

In general the study found that patients in northern and western parts of Europe enjoyed a higher chance at survival than their eastern neighbours. Only 38.7 percent survived cancer in Bulgaria, according to the study.

Researchers said that early-detection was the main factor behind the survival rates.

“Socioeconomic status, lifestyle and general health differences between populations may also play a role,” Dr Milena Sant from the Fondazione IRCC Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori in Milan, Italy, told the congress on Saturday.

Published in the European Journal of Cancer, the Eurocare study examined patient survival for all common types of cancers across the continent.

Breast cancer survival was 86 percent in Sweden, with a European average of 81.8 percent.

While the study reflects previous research, there has been a high-profile debate about cancer care in Sweden in the past year, following reports of long queues for cancer treatment and complaints from leading health professionals about a lack of qualified staff in hospitals.

A study by medical journal Lancet in 2013 ranked the country lowest in Scandinavia in terms of child cancer survivor rates. Overall in Europe Sweden was ranked in eleventh position.

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