Improving Outcomes: a strategy for Cancer makes clear that it is impossible to tackle inequalities without data to inform activity and scrutinise progress. In 2012 we defined key cancer metrics to summarise and present information that was publicly accessible for England. The baseline report “Cancer and Equality: key metrics” was published in June 2013.
Aim:An annual report will be published in June 2014 with updated results.
Data included in the report have been taken from a variety of national data sources. Basic epidemiology data (incidence, mortality and survival) are included to provide context. Some of the metrics highlight where differences within equality groups exist, whilst others show similarities between groups. Other metrics highlight current data gaps and progress in filling them.
The results are presented to give an overview of inequalities and to examine changes, for example:
The proportion of older people being diagnosed through the Two Week wait route has increased significantly across many cancer sites between 2006 and 2010; this route is associated with a higher survival rate compared to the Emergency Presentation Route. Many older people are still diagnosed as an emergency.
Overall, in 2011/12, women were more likely to report a poorer experience of care, as were younger people (aged 16-25).
For cancers registered between 2004 and 2006 an ethnic group was assigned to 76% of patients, the latest data show an improvement to around 95%.
The equality metrics provide an overview of national trends, providing insight for commissioners, providers and policy makers alike. Cancer intelligence is enabling a better understanding of the reasons for differences between equality groups and will therefore help us to address these and improve outcomes for all patients. This report holds all of us to account for cancer care and treatment which is equitable.