A leading cancer support charity has called on government and NHS Commissioning Board to ensure that patients suffering from all types of the disease are given the “best” chance of survival.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that survival rates for rarer cancers, including cancer of the pancreas and the stomach, are nearly 60 per cent lower than survival rates for more common cancers, including breast and testicular cancer.

Charlotte Potter, policy manager of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “Yet again, survival for rarer cancer is trailing behind the more common cancers.

“This proves just how vital it is for the NHS to be measured against and held to account for improving cancer survival for all cancers not just the more common ones.

“Nobody chooses the type of cancer they have. Each cancer patient deserves to be given the best chance of survival.

“The government and the NHS Commissioning Board must listen and ensure that one-year and five-year survival indicators for all cancers are included in their relevant outcomes frameworks.”

Five-year survival for cancers of the brain, lung, oesophagus, pancreas and stomach in men and women measured below 21 per cent, compared with 80 per cent survival for cancers of the breast (women), prostate, testis and for Hodgkin lymphoma and melanoma of the skin.

Figures showed survival for pancreatic cancer remains the lowest in both sexes and survival is generally lower among older patients than younger patients.

Overall, the general trend of increasing survival continued for patients diagnosed between 2006 and 2010.