A leading doctor in Waltham Forest has responded to criticism from a cancer charity over low cancer survival rates by calling on residents to lead healthier lifestyles. 

According to a survey by Macmillan Cancer Support published on Friday, more than a third of cancer patients in the borough die within twelve months of diagnosis.  

The research into claims of a  'postcode lottery' over care ranked Waltham Forest as third worst in the country, but there were six areas with a 38 per cent one-year survival rate.

Dr Anwar Khan, GP and chair of NHS Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group, (CCG) said work was being done to diagnose people earlier, but said people could do more to stay healthy.

He said: "Early diagnosis and treatment of cancer is a top priority for us. 

"We are working with Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK to implement and develop tools in general practice that aid early cancer diagnosis and working towards the goals in the national cancer strategy to improve cancer services, enhance patient experience and raise survival rates.

"Local people too have a role to play in stopping cancer this can be done by leading a healthier lifestyle and attending screening. 

"Stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol and being a healthy weight all reduce the risk of developing cancer. 

"The CCG works closely with local people, our NHS partners and public health in Waltham Forest council to encourage local people to live healthier lifestyles."

Mr Khan also identified health education in terms of signs and symptoms as being a key to survival, and encouraged anyone experiencing abnormalities such as lumps, bleeding or a long-lasting cough to seek advice from their GP immediately.