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Cancer survival statistics for common cancers

Survival statistics for the most common cancers are presented here. There are also data by trends over time and by sex.

Unless otherwise stated, these data are for all adults diagnosed with cancer, at ages 15-99, stages and co-morbidities. The survival statistics presented here are for England in 2005-2009 (followed up to 2010). Survival data for England in 2006-2010 (followed up to 2011) is available but used a different method, is not comparable with the data here and had no historical trends so has not been used here.

One-year survival

The latest one-year age-standardised relative survival for the most common cancers in men and women diagnosed in England during 2005-2009 and followed up to 2010 are shown in Figure 1.1.1

The five cancer sites with the lowest one-year survival are the same for both males and females. All five sites have one-year survival lower than 50% with pancreatic cancer having the lowest one-year survival overall at just 17% for males and 19% for females.

The cancer with the highest one-year survival for males is testicular cancer with 98% of men diagnosed during 2005-2009 and followed up to 2010 surviving at least one year after diagnosis. The cancer site with the highest one-year survival for females is malignant melanoma with 98% surviving for at least one year after diagnosis.

The largest survival difference between men and women is for bladder cancer where the one-year survival for males is 10% higher than for females.

Figure 1.1: One-Year Age-Standardised Relative Survival for Adults (Aged 15-99 years) Diagnosed During 2005-2009 and Followed up to 2010: England, 21 Common Cancers, by Sex

surv_1yr_21common.swf

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section reviewed 13/06/13
section updated 13/06/13

Five-year survival

The latest five-year age-standardised relative survival for the most common cancers in men and women diagnosed in England during 2005-2009 and followed up to 2010 are shown in Figure 1.2.1

The five cancer sites with the lowest five-year survival are the same as the sites with the lowest one-year survival, with pancreatic cancer again the lowest five-year survival overall at just 4% for males and 4% for females.

The cancer with the highest five-year survival for males is testicular cancer with 97% of men diagnosed during 2005-2009 and followed up to 2010 surviving at least five years. The cancer site with the highest five-year survival for females is malignant melanoma with 92% surviving for at least five years.

The largest survival differences between men and women are for bladder cancer where the five-year survival for males is 8% higher than for females, and for malignant melanoma where the five-year survival for females is 8% higher than for males.

Similar to one-year survival, for most types of cancer women have a small survival advantage over men. As shown in Figure 1.2 women have significantly higher five-year survival for 7 of the 15 cancers most commonly diagnosed in both sexes.

Figure 1.2: Five-Year Age-Standardised Relative Survival for Adults (Aged 15-99 years) Diagnosed During 2005-2009 and Followed up to 2010: England, 21 Common Cancers, by Sex

surv_5yr_21common.swf

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Testis, Hodgkin lymphoma, Larynx, Stomach, Brain, Oesophagus and Lung not age-standardised

section reviewed 13/06/13
section updated 13/06/13

Trends over time

One-year survival over time

One-year relative survival has been used as an indicator of early diagnosis, since death before one year could be due to the disease being diagnosed at a late stage. The absolute increase in one-year survival between the periods 1971-1975 and 2005-2009 are presented below (Figure 1.3).

The largest observed increase in one-year survival since the early 1970s is for myeloma for both males and females. For males this figure rose from 32% in 1971-75 to 70% in 2005-2009, an absolute rise of 38 percentage points.1,2 For females this figure rose from 38% in 1971-75 to 72% in 2005-2009, an absolute rise of 34 percentage points.1,2

One-year survival for pancreatic cancer has also improved over time, increasing by 11 percentage points (from 6% in 1971-75 to 17% in 2005-2009) and 12 percentage points (from 7% to 19%) for males and females respectively, although it still has the lowest one-year survival of the most common cancers diagnosed.

One-year survival for lung cancer has also improved since the early 1970s, with relative survival increasing by 14 percentage points (from 15% in 1971-75 to 29% in 2005-2009) for males and 20 percentage points (from 13% in 1971-75 to 33% in 2005-2009) for females. Latest one-year survival for males and females still remain relatively low at 29% and 33% for males and females respectively.

One-year relative survival for female breast cancer has increased from 82% in the early 1970s to 96% in 2005-2009.

Bowel cancer (including anal cancer) survival is not available historically; data from the early 1970s onwards presents colon cancer and rectum cancer figures separately. Almost two-thirds (64% in 2009) of all bowel cancers are cancers of the colon and over one-third (36%) are cancers of the rectum (including anal). One-year survival over time for both colon and rectum cancers have improved markedly. Colon cancer one-year survival for males increased from 39% in 1971-1975 to 73% in 2005-2009; for females one-year survival increased from 40% to 72% over the same period. One-year survival for cancer of the rectum for males increased from 50% in the early 1970s to 79% in 2005-2009; female survival increased from 51% to 79% over the same period.1,2

Figure 1.3: Absolute Increase in One-Year Age-Standardised Relative Survival (Percentage Point) for Adults (15-99 years) Diagnosed in the Period 1971-1975 (England and Wales) and in the Period 2005-2009 and Followed up to 2010 (England only), 21 Common Cancers, by Sex

surv_1yr_absincrease.swf

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Five-year survival over time

While relative survival is still influenced by early diagnosis after five years, it is also strongly dependent on the success of treatment. The absolute increase in five-year survival between the periods 1971-1975 and 2005-2009 are presented below (Figure 1.4).

The largest observed increase in five-year survival for males since the early 1970s is for prostate cancer, rising from 31% in 1971-75 to 81% in 2005-2009, an absolute rise of 50 percentage points.1,2 However, much of this increase can be attributed to the increased use of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) testing in the UK which has led to the diagnosis of many prostate cancers which would have gone undetected so caution needs to be exercised when interpreting this increase.

The largest observed increase in five-year survival for females since the early 1970s is for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, rising from 31% in 1971-75 to 66% in 2005-2009, an absolute increase of 35 percentage points.

Five-year survival for pancreatic cancer has changed very little over time, only increasing by 2 percentage points for males and 2 percentage points for females since the early 1970s. Pancreatic cancer has the lowest five-year survival overall of the most common cancers diagnosed in both males and females.

Five-year survival for lung cancer has also changed relatively little since the early 1970s. Relative survival increased since the early 1970s by 4 and 5 percentage points for males and females respectively. In 2005-2009 five-year survival for males and females remained low at less than 10% for both sexes.

One of the largest increases in five-year survival has been for female breast cancer which has increased by 33 percentage points from 52% in the early 1970s to 85% in 2005-2009.

Bowel cancer (including anal cancer) survival is not available historically; data from the early 1970s onwards presents colon and rectum figures separately. Five-year survival over time for both colon and rectum cancers have followed a similar trend. Colon cancer five-year survival for males increased from 22% in 1971-1975 to 54% in 2005-2009; for females five-year survival increased from 23% to 55% over the same period. Five-year survival for cancer of the rectum for males increased from 25% in the early 1970s to 55% in 2005-2009; female survival increased from 27% to 57% over the same period.1,2

Figure 1.4: Absolute Increase in Five-Year Age-Standardised Relative Survival (Percentage Point) for Adults (15-99 Years) Diagnosed in the Period 1971-1975 (England and Wales) and in the Period 2005-2009 and Followed up to 2010 (England only), 21 Common Cancers, by Sex

surv_5yr_absincrease.swf

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The five-year survival for 2005-2009 and followed up to 2010 given  for Testis (C62), Hodgkin Lymphoma (C81), Larynx (C32), Stomach (C16), Brain (C71), Oesophagus (C15) and Lung (C33-C34) are not age-standardised.

Ten-year survival over time

Figure 1.5 shows the increase in ten-year survival from the 1970s to the present for the most common cancers. These figures were calculated as a result of analysis commissioned by Cancer Research UK in 2010.3

This analysis shows that whilst there has been improvement in survival for most cancers, for lung and pancreatic cancer there has been very little change and survival remains low. The highest survival is for testicular cancer, malignant melanoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The largest observed increase in ten-year survival since the early 1970s is for prostate cancer rising from 20% in 1971-72 to a predicted 69% in 2007, an absolute rise of 49 percentage points. However, much of this increase can be attributed to the increased use of PSA testing in the UK which has led to the diagnosis of many prostate cancers which would have gone undetected so caution needs to be exercised when interpreting this increase.

The next largest observed increase in ten-year survival since the early 1970s is for female breast cancer rising from 39% in 1971-72 to a predicted 77% in 2007, an absolute increase of 38 percentage points.

Figure 1.5: Ten-Year Relative Survival (%), Adults (15-99 Years), Selected Cancers, England and Wales: Survival Trends for Selected Cancers 1971-2007

surv_10yrtrends_selectedcancers

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section reviewed 13/06/13
section updated 13/06/13

National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI)

For the majority of cancers overall, relative survival is improving. This can generally be attributed to faster diagnosis and improvements in treatment. However, there is still much scope for improvement and increasing cancer survival remains a major priority of Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer, part of the Cancer Reform Strategy.6,7 An outcome of this Strategy is the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI), which is a public sector/third sector partnership between the Department of Health, National Cancer Action Team, and Cancer Research UK.8 The role of NAEDI is to promote the earlier diagnosis of cancer, and this will involve researching ways to further improve survival from cancer.

section reviewed 13/06/13
section updated 13/06/13

Cancer survival statistical tables

Survival is presented for patients diagnosed in eight five-year periods from 1971 to 2009 (one- and five-year survival) and from 1971 to predicted 2007 (ten-year survival). Tables 1.1-1.3 show the one-, five- and ten-year relative survival for eight time periods.1-5

One-year survival over time by site

Table 1.1: Relative Age-Standardised One-Year Survival by Site and Sex for Patients Diagnosed in England and Wales Between 1971-1995 and England Only for 1996-2009

surv_1yr_selected cancers.jpg

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Five-year survival over time by site

Table 1.2: Relative Age-Standardised Five-Year Survival by Site and Sex for Patients Diagnosed in England and Wales Between 1971-1995 and England Only for 1996-2009

surv_5yr_selected cancers

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Ten-year survival over time by site

Table 1.3: Relative Age-Standardised Ten-Year Survival by Site and Sex for Patients Diagnosed in England and Wales Between 1971-1995, England Only From 1996 to 2003 and England and Wales for 2007

surv_10yr_selected cancers

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section reviewed 13/06/13
section updated 13/06/13

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References for common cancers survival

  1. For data for 2005-2009: Office for National Statistics (ONS). Cancer survival in England: Patients diagnosed 2005-2009 and followed up to 2010. London: ONS; 2011.
  2. For data for 1971-1990: Coleman MP, Babb P, Damiecki P, et al. Cancer Survival Trends in England and Wales, 1971-1995: Deprivation and NHS Region. Series SMPS No 61. London: ONS; 1999.
  3. For data 2007: Coleman MP, et al. Research commissioned by Cancer Research UK, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 2010.
  4. For data for 1991-1995: Office for National Statistics (ONS). Cancer Survival: England and Wales, 1991-2001, twenty major cancers by age group. London: ONS; 2005.
  5. For data for 1996-2003: Rachet B, Maringe C, Nur U, et al. Population-based cancer survival trends in England and Wales up to 2007. Lancet Oncol 2009;10:351-369. Age-standardised figures were provided by the author on request.
  6. Department of Health. Improving outcomes: a strategy for cancer. London: Department of Health; 2011.
  7. Department of Health. Cancer Reform Strategy. London: Department of Health; 2007.
  8. Cancer Research UK. National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI). 2007.

 

Updated: 13 June 2013