New cancer patients spend average of 20 days in hospital in first year

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Newly-diagnosed cancer patients can expect to spend an average of 20 days in hospital the year after the disease is first detected, a new study has found.

Breast cancer patients spend the longest time in hospital during the first year of diagnosis, with an average of 25 days, data from England's national cancer registry shows.

For men with prostate cancer, the average is just 10 days.

Almost 270,000 people were diagnosed with cancer for the first time in 2014, and they spent a total of 5.3 million days getting treated in hospital in the subsequent year, but the figures varied widely.

A quarter of those patients spent 30 days or more in hospital, while just under 4% had to make 50 trips that year.

As well as type of cancer, age group is also a factor in how much time new patients will spend in hospital.

Dany Bell, a treatment and recovery specialist adviser at Macmillan Cancer Support, said newly-diagnosed patients rarely know what to expect from treatment and struggle with frequent appointments.

"Time in hospital is time away from families, time off work, and it can be expensive travelling to and fro," she said.

This research is the work of Public Health England's National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service, and cancer charity Macmillan, which says this is the first time they have had access to such data.

Professor John Newton, of Public Health England, said making information like this public can make a huge difference to patients.

"Knowing more about what to expect can help people who are just diagnosed with cancer feel more in control," he said.