The NHS is "masking" the number of cancer patients who die from their treatment, Lord Saatchi said.

The peer said that up to 15,000 cancer patients could be dying annually in the UK from their treatment but official figures only classify the underlying cancer as the cause of death.

Lord Saatchi said that doctors should know about the effect of the treatments.

And he said that it is "disempowering" to patients because it denies them access to information about treatments.

Would you recognise these early signs of cancer?

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  • A lump or swelling anywhere on your body needs checking out

    AXA’s research found that 79% of people were able to correctly identify breast lumps as a potential indicator of cancer. But a lump or swelling in any part of the body, including the armpit, neck, abdomen, groin or chest area, is worth having checked by a doctor.

  • Talk about your toilet habits

    Diarrhoea or changes in bowel habits are most likely to be caused by a stomach bug or eating something that disagrees with you. But if you’re noticing changes that have lasted more than a few days, for example if your bowel movements are looser for three weeks or more, or you notice any blood when you’ve been to the toilet, then make an appointment to get it checked out.

  • Sores and ulcers should disappear quickly – investigate them if they don’t

    A lot of people get mouth ulcers when their immune system is low or they’re stressed. Generally they’re nothing to worry about and, as the lining of the mouth regenerates itself every couple of weeks, shouldn’t last long. But any ulcer that hasn’t healed after three weeks merits attention from your doctor or dentist. The same goes for any sore or spot that lasts for several weeks without healing – get it checked by a doctor.

  • Difficult passing urine – not just an inevitable consequence of age

    Many men find it more difficult to pass urine as they get older, needing to go more often or urgently or being unable to go when they need to. These problems are usually caused by an enlarged prostate, which is a common condition that is not in itself cause for concern. But occasionally these symptoms can be a sign of prostate cancer – either way, men experiencing these symptoms should see their GP. Similarly, while urinary tract infections are the most likely cause of women having pain or difficulty passing urine, this should pass relatively quickly. If it doesn’t, then any sudden urges to pass urine or the need to go more often should be discussed with your doctor.

  • Lost weight without dieting?

    It’s natural for most people’s weight to fluctuate over time. But if you haven’t instigated any changes in your diet or exercise regime and have obviously lost weight, then talk to your doctor. And if you’re experiencing heavy night sweats you should seek medical advice – these don’t always have a sinister cause, and can be brought about by certain infections or medications, but they’re worth checking.

  • Coughing up blood needs to be checked out

    If you’ve coughed up any blood, you should see your doctor, regardless of the amount of blood or frequency. It can be a sign of lung cancer, so needs to be checked out.

  • Coughs and sore throats

    Most of us will experience coughs or croaky voices at some point, normally when we’ve had a cold. But as with many other changes to your body, anything that hasn’t gone away after three weeks or so should be investigated.

  • Educate yourself on what to look out for

    AXA’s research found women were more likely than men to identify key cancer warning signs, including breast lumps, changes in bowel habits and irregular moles. But for both men and women, ensuring you’re aware of symptoms to keep an eye out for is important. Knowledge is power: understanding what you’re looking for means you can any changes checked out quickly.

  • Know your own body

    AXA’s research found only 6% of men and 3% of women check their bodies daily for anything unusual. But understanding what’s normal for your own body is essential if you’re to spot when anything has changed. If you do notice changes that are persisting for a long time, or causing you pain and discomfort, then see your GP.

  • Don’t put off seeing the doctor!

    A sizeable 61% of people AXA spoke to admitted they’d delayed seeing their doctor when they spotted changes that could be potential flags for cancer. But early detection of any problems can make a huge difference if any treatment is then needed. Similarly, if changes are harmless your doctor will be able to reassure you. Overall, the sooner you go to see your GP, the better.

Later today, he will ask a Parliamentary question about the number of such deaths today but is expecting to be told the the Office For National Statistics does not hold such data.

"In other words, the statistics do not reveal whether 1% or 100% of cancer patients ultimately die from the treatment or from the disease," he said.

"That is the problem.

"So the point is that Big Data, which is supposed to be the cure for everything, has not arrived in the world of cancer where statistics are not available to distinguish death from cancer versus death from treatment."

Vietnam War Herbicide 'Agent Orange' Linked To Prostate Cancer

Last year, Lord Saatchi launched a Private Member's Bill to give legal defence for doctors who make medical innovations.

The advertising mogul said that fear of litigation is acting as a deterrent in the development of cutting-edge cancer treatments.

His wife Josephine Hart died from a form of ovarian cancer in 2011. The novelist, whose debut novel Damage sold more than one million copies, was 69 when she died.