THREE quarters of all cancer patients in Oxfordshire now survive more than a year after being diagnosed, according to new statistics.

The 74.7 per cent survival rate reveals a stark improvement in the county since 2001 when just 66.7 per cent of patients survived after the first 12 months.

The figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) cover the period from 2001 to 2016 and put Oxfordshire in the top 30 areas in the country for one-year survival rates.

During that period Oxford saw the opening of the Churchill Cancer Centre which celebrated its 10th anniversary last week.

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The facility, which is considered a world leader in cancer care, brought all treatments and diagnosis services under one roof and has been cited as one of the reasons for improvements to survival rates in the area.

Speaking ahead of the 10th anniversary last week, cancer surgeon and trust-wide cancer lead at Oxford University Hospitals, Nick Maynard, said technological advancements in equipment and research had helped the survival rate in his speciality increase significantly both long term and short term.

He said: "In the 22 years I’ve been here, the long-term cure rate for oesophageal cancer has doubled.

"For cancer of the oesophagus its gone from 20 per cent to 50 per cent, while in the last 10 years alone since the cancer centre it’s gone from around 30 per cent to 50 per cent.

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"In the short term the success has improved by probably 200 to 300 per cent for this operation.

"With oesophageal cancer, it’s a very big operation, we talk about 30-day mortality rate and that’s improved from about four per cent down to 0.8 per cent - we’ve got one of the lowest rates in the world for this and we can quote similar improvements for other cancers."

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According to Cancer Research UK, there are around 3,400 cancer cases in Oxfordshire each year.

The ONS figures show survival rates for each NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area in the England.

CCGs are made up of local GPs who commission NHS services in that area - in 2018 the number of CCGs fell from 207 to 195.

Across England the one-year all-cancer survival rate has increased from 62 per cent in 2001 to 72.8 per cent in 2016.

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.