Cancer survival rates in Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire are improving but at a lower rate than the  average in England, according to the latest statistics.

Latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), released this month, shows the number of cancer patients surviving a year after diagnosis from 2001 to 2016.

Dr Kajal Patel, Cancer Lead for Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “The cancer survival rate statistics quoted are based on figures from approximately three years ago.

“With this in mind we would be unable to comment on data which is that far back.

“However, increasing the cancer survival rates in Berkshire West, as well as enhancing the patient experience, remains a key priority for the CCG.”

In the Berkshire West CCG area, survival rate has increased from 65.1 per cent in 2001 to 71.6 per cent in 2016.

However, the average in England has increased from 62 per cent to 72.8 per cent in 2016.

Berkshire West CCG was previously more than 3 per cent above the national average and is now more than 1 per cent below it.

The CCG is responsible for Reading, West Berkshire and Wokingham.

The area has fallen from 15th best in the country in 2001 to 184th in 2016.

Comparably, East Berkshire CCG area survival rates have risen from 64 per cent in 2001 to 73 per cent in 2016.

Ms Patel highlighted the CCGs work with Thames Valley Cancer Alliance, including a Quality Improvement Scheme to improve screening uptakes at GP Practices.

The GP locality lead for South Reading said partnership work with the Macmillan Trust has had a ‘major impact on hundreds of local people’.

She added: “In the last few weeks alone we have run campaigns stressing how important it is for people go for cervical and bowel cancer screening.

“We have a programme of campaigns throughout the year highlighting cancer issues and what people can do to help themselves and lessen their risk of developing cancer.”

The CCG has trained 25 cancer champions who work alongside 16 GP surgeries in Reading, delivered more than 30 cancer education and awareness sessions and reached more than 1,300 people.

The cancer champions scheme has been extended till the end of June after getting an extra two months of funding.

Ms Patel said this has helped to give people a better understanding of cancer and the treatments available, as well as providing support to people and their families in dealing with cancer.

‘Increasing take up of breast and bowel screening and prevention services’ is one of seven priorities in the latest Reading Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

According to the latest dashboard report from March 19, it is meeting this target.

The CCGs with the lowest survival rates are Leicester, Medway, Swale and Thanet in Kent; Barking and Dagenham, Tower Hamlets and Newham in London; and Sandwell and West Birmingham, Stoke on Trent and Luton.

The 10 best CCG areas are Richmond, Westminster, Barnet, West London, Kingston and Hounslow in London; Surrey Heath and Surrey Downs; Southport and Formby in Merseyside, and North East Hampshire and Farnham.