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Dying cancer patients suffering needlessly says report

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Will more people be allowed to die at home as Macmillan wants?

Macmillan Cancer Research has warned that too many patients dying from cancer still face often unnecessary visits to hospital and that patients from poorer areas are likely to die there.

This is despite the fact that spending their last days at home or in a hospice is the preference of many patients.

Research by the charity has revealed that cancer patients from the most deprived areas are 18 times more likely to die in hospital, according to its latest report The Final Injustice.

The charity has called on government to tackle the difference in service received by rich and poor and to make sure all cancer patients get the right care when the die.

The report also reveals that hundreds of thousands of unnecessary visits to A&E are straining very overstretched emergency services.

Every year, some 57,000 people die within a year of being diagnosed with cancer, and together they make over 85,000 emergency hospital visits during this time.

Between 2011 and 2015, 533,000 people in England died within ten years of receiving a cancer diagnosis. According to Macmillan, this group accounted for over 2m emergency visits towards the end of their lives.

Spending so much time in A&E at the end of life can be extremely distressing, the charity says, adding that hospital care for people from deprived areas with the four most common cancers costs the NHS an extra £4.6bn a year.