How to close the gap on less survivable cancers? Less Survivable Cancer Awareness Day

Posted in , , by Miss Kornelija Dedelaite

According to data presented by the Less Survivable Cancer Taskforce (LSCT), there are currently over 90,000 people who are diagnosed with one of the six less survivable cancers in the UK every year (LSCT, 2020)

The cancers that we refer to as ‘less survivable’ are as follows:

  1. Brain cancer/Brain tumours:

According to Cancer Research UK, brain tumours are the 9th most common cancer in the UK between 2016 – 2018 (Cancer Research UK, 2022). 60% of those who have been diagnosed with a high-grade brain tumour are likely to die within the first year and only 19% can survive for 5 or more years (Cancer Research UK, 2022a).

The Brain Tumour Charity is doing their best to spread awareness and defeat brain tumours. It is funding research in this area to increase survival, raise awareness of symptoms and provide support to patients and their friends/family members.

According to the Brain Tumour Charity, the symptoms of this less survivable cancer could be (BTC, 2022):

  • Headaches
  • Changes in vision
  • Seizures
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of taste and smell
  1. Oesophageal cancer

There are around 9,000 cases of oesophageal cancer diagnosed each year in the UK (Cancer Research UK, 2022) and unfortunately, only 15% of adults survive this cancer for 5 or more years.

According to Action Against Heartburn, the cancer risks are higher for men, people who are 50 and older and those who suffer from obesity (Action against Heartburn, 2020).

The symptoms of oesophageal cancer include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Persistent indigestion/heartburn
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Persistent coughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Tiredness and shortness of breath
  1. Lung cancer

Lung cancer is the most common cancer all around the world however it is still one of the less survivable cancers. There are over 48,500 cases diagnosed in the UK each year (Cancer Research UK, 2022). Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, however, there are many other causes for this cancer as well as 28% of lung cancer are not caused by smoking.

Despite lung cancer receiving the most funding between 2020/2021 (Cancer Research UK, 2022b) the trend shows an increase of 13% among new cases only 10% of all cases survive for 10 or more years (Cancer Research UK, 2022c).

Symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Chest pains
  • Hoarseness
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or weak
  1. Liver cancer

Liver cancer is the 18th most common cancer in the UK with around 6,200 new cases in the UK each year, however, it is the 8th most common cause of cancer death and that is why it is considered one of the less survivable cancers. Males are more at risk of this cancer and over the last decade, liver cancer mortality rates have increased almost by half (48%) (Cancer Research UK, 2022d).

Only 13% of patients with this cancer survive for 5 or more years, a statistic that has remained almost the same for the past 10 years.

Symptoms of liver cancer could be the following:

  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling and being sick
  • Pain or swelling in the abdomen
  • Jaundice
  • Itchy skin
  • Feeling tired or weak
  1. Pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer received £16.6m in research funding in 2020/2021 (Cancer Research UK, 2022b). However, as it is a less survivable cancer statistics show that only 5% of people with this disease will survive for 5 or more years. There are 10,500 new cases of pancreatic cancer in the UK each year. 60% of all cases with this disease are not diagnosed until a very advanced stage.

The incidence rates for pancreatic cancer are projected to rise by 6% by 2035 (Cancer Research UK, 2022e).

Symptoms for this disease include:

  • Pain in the back or stomach area
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Jaundice
  1. Stomach cancer

Stomach cancer is one of the lowest funded in terms of research, receiving only £0.5m in 2020/2021 (Cancer Research UK, 2022b). There are 6,500 cases of this disease each year, most being diagnosed among those aged 85-89 and more common in males (Cancer Research UK, 2022f).

17% of people diagnosed with stomach cancer survive for 10 or more years. The symptoms for this disease could be some of the following:

  • Indigestion
  • Trapped wind
  • Heartburn
  • Feeling bloated or too full after eating
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Difficulty swallowing

How to close the gap on less survivable cancers?

Despite these cancers accounting for 51% of common deaths from cancer, people are not as aware of them as they should be.

Unfamiliarity with symptoms and delays in diagnosis have a detrimental effect on the chances of survival, especially as all these diseases can develop rapidly and not be noticed until too late. According to the LSCT (2020), if you have one of the less survivable cancers, you are twice as likely not to be diagnosed until you show severe symptoms.

Late diagnosis and delay in treatment can limit treatment options and decrease the survival rate even further.

The question now is what can we do to bridge this gap and provide better survival chances? The LSCT have determined that investing in early detection and faster diagnosis can save more lives. A couple of the points from the report published by the LSCT has recommended the following:

  • Restarting cancer awareness campaigns with a focus on raising awareness of symptoms of less survivable cancers
  • Introduce routine preventive health assessments to increase early detection and chance of survival by providing treatment at the earliest stage

The points above are exactly what we at Echelon Health strive to do.

Less survivable cancer screenings at Echelon Health

49% of liver cancer cases are preventable.

79% of lung cancer cases are preventable.

3% of brain tumours are preventable.

54% of stomach cancer cases are preventable.

37% of pancreatic cancer cases are preventable.

59% of oesophageal cancer cases are preventable.

As the world’s leading health assessment provider Echelon Health believes that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to health. We understand the value of early detection.

Using our vast medical experience and the best imaging technology available in the UK, we are determined to provide the most comprehensive health assessment possible.

Our Core Cancer package aims to detect cancers at their earliest possible stages. It can help detect the less survivable cancers mentioned above as well as the cancers that are not mentioned, such as skin cancer, breast/prostate cancer and more. Here is what is included in our Core Cancer assessment:

  • Blood tests
  • CT abdomen
  • CT pelvis
  • CT virtual colonoscopy
  • MRI prostate
  • Ultrasound thyroid
  • Ultrasound testes/ovaries
  • Digital mammogram

Our Platinum Assessment is one of the most comprehensive in the world. It can detect up to 92% and up to 94% of the causes of premature death among men and women respectively using the most advanced imaging technologies. Here is what is included in the Platinum Assessment:

  • Medical Questionnaire & Pre-Assessment
  • Blood Tests
  • ECG
  • CT Aorta
  • CT Heart
  • CT Coronary Angiogram
  • CT Chest
  • CT Pelvis
  • CT Virtual Colonoscopy
  • CT Bone Density
  • EOS
  • CT Upright Skeleton
  • MRI Brain
  • MRI Cerebral Artery Angiogram
  • MRI Carotid Artery Angiogram
  • MRI Prostate
  • Ultrasound Thyroid
  • Ultrasound Testes/ Ovaries
  • Digital Mammogram
  • Full Body Mole Screen
  • Final Consultation

Alternatively, we also offer a Bespoke plan, which caters to your individual needs and focuses on patients on a case-by-case basis. For more information on our services, you can contact us here or download our brochure.





LSCT (2020). Early Diagnoses report final. Available at: (Accessed 11/01/2022).

Cancer Research UK (2022). Cancer incidence for common cancers. Available at: (Accessed 11/01/2022).

Cancer Research UK (2022a). Brain, other CNS and intracranial tumours mortality statistics. Available at: (Accessed 12/01/2022).

Brain Tumour Charity (2022). Brain tumour symptoms in adults. Available at: (Accessed 12/01/2022).

Action Against Heartburn (2020). Oesophageal Cancer. Available at: (Accessed 12/01/2022).

Cancer Research UK (2022b). Facts and figures about our research funding. Available at: (Accessed 12/01/2022).

Cancer Research UK (2022c). Lung cancer statistics. Available at: (Accessed 11/01/2022).

Cancer Research UK (2022d). Liver cancer statistics. Available at: (Accessed 12/01/2022).

Cancer Research UK (2022e). Pancreatic cancer statistics. Available at: (Accessed 12/01/2022).

Cancer Research UK (2022f). Stomach cancer statistics. Available at: (Accessed 12/01/2022).